Pence, Inslee greet each other with elbow bump ahead of coronavirus meetings

Pence, Inslee greet each other with elbow bump ahead of coronavirus meetings
© Greg Nash

Vice President Pence on Thursday greeted Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeWashington state officials confirm federal officers leaving Seattle Democratic lawmakers launch 'Mean Girls'-inspired initiative to promote face masks It's time for Trump administration doctors to speak up — whatever the consequences MORE (D-Wash.) and other local officials with elbow bumps in lieu of handshakes as he traveled to the state to discuss its coronavirus response.

The vice president stepped off Air Force Two in Tacoma, where he bumped elbows with Inslee and several members of Congress who were there to greet him.

Pence extended the same greeting to officials at the state's emergency operations center and asked workers how they were holding up.

Pence on Thursday traveled to Minnesota and Washington in his capacity as the leader of the federal government's response to the coronavirus. He met in Minnesota with executives at 3M to discuss production of masks, respirators and other materials before traveling to Washington state.

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In addition to the tour of the emergency operations center, the vice president was scheduled to take part in a roundtable discussion and a press briefing with Inslee before departing for the return flight to Washington, D.C.

Inslee had been using the elbow bump greeting, urging citizens to "take care of your elbows" earlier in the day, according to local reporters.

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Washington state has been the focal point of coronavirus cases in the U.S. The state has confirmed 70 cases of the virus, with 11 fatalities. Inslee has declared a state of emergency as the government marshals resources to combat the virus.

There have been 12 coronavirus-related fatalities thus far in the U.S., with a California resident dying on Wednesday. Officials have confirmed more than 200 cases in the U.S., including those who have been repatriated from China and a Diamond Princess cruise ship.

While Pence was visiting Washington, President TrumpDonald John TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled MORE was holding a town hall event in Pennsylvania. A self-described germaphobe, Trump quipped that "if there was ever a time you could convince people not to shake hands this could be it."