Social media users gave expressed discomfort over viral clips of US President Joe Biden coughing minutes before signing a bill and shaking hands with several lawmakers afterwards. The incident took place on Tuesday, more than a week after Mr Biden tested negative for COVID-19. The US President signed into law a big climate change and healthcare spending bill, called the Inflation Reduction Act, giving Democrats another boost ahead of crucial mid-term elections. The law is estimated to bring $740bn in the next 10 years as revenue through a combination of higher taxes on wealthy corporations, levies on stock buybacks, and stronger enforcement of tax laws on high-income households.
The video of the President's behaviour was posted by several journalists and media outlets. It shows Mr Biden taking off his mask to cough into his hand, signing the bill, giving the pen to West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, and then shaking hands with everyone in the room.
Joe Biden entered the room to sign the bill.— Greg Price (@greg_price11) August 16, 2022
Took off his mask.
Coughed into his hand
Signed the bill.
Gave the pen to Manchin.
Put his mask back on.
Shook hands with everyone in the room. pic.twitter.com/s97mv1QsJ3
He also put his mask back on just before standing up to shake hands with people after the signing of the bill.
Several Twitter users were horrified after watching the video.
"Since he has been jabbed three hundred times, and so is everybody else present, what's the problem?" said one user. "What happened to cough into your elbow for health safety's sake?" asked another.
Others were concerned about the US President. "Omg what happened to him? He looks like so drained ... hope he is doing OK," a user tweeted.
A week ago, Mr Biden had coughed repeatedly throughout a White House address on the passage of the CHIPS bill and then was seen shaking hands with several lawmakers.
Another video of the US President shaking senator Chuck Schumer's hand and then extending his hand for another handshake seconds later had garnered a lot of social media attention.