Boris Johnson has given a much-awaited news conference in the wake of the continued coronavirus outbreak.
During his news conference, Johnson attempted to calm public anxieties about the virus as it spreads across the world.
He even claimed that, during his recent visit to a hospital, he wasn’t shy about touching people, saying:
I was at a hospital where there were a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody
As writer Jason Okundaye pointed out on Twitter, Johnson might be trying to evoke the iconic images of Princess Diana’s visits to Aids wards in the 1980s.
At that time, in a wave of public panic and disinformation about HIV and Aids, the princess became an iconic symbol of solidarity after shaking hands with patients. Of course we know now that there’s no way of transmitting HIV this way, but a lot of people were sceptical and would never have shaken an Aids patient’s hand without gloves on.
Here she is...
Given that the photos of Diana shaking peoples’ hands in hospices became iconic, it makes sense that Johnson would try to conjure up the same image for himself.
But there’s just one problem with this strategy: you can actually get coronavirus from shaking hands.
Coronavirus can be contracted through human-to-human contact like hugging and shaking hands. So while Diana was exposing herself to literally no risk in shaking hands with Aids patients, Johnson might have actually put himself at risk of catching coronavirus.
On social media, people really weren't impressed...