Maher gave his opening monologue without a studio audience, following several other late-night shows this week as a precaution from spreading the virus. He began by praising the "social distancing" and "no shaking hands" advice people have been following.
That's "how people should behave anyway," he said.
But the HBO star pivoted to some of the habits that have been adopted in recent days.
"There's a new trend in Europe where they're tapping on the elbow. Why? Why touch at all?" Maher asked. "What's the point of touching someone when you meet them -- to verify that they're not a ghost?"
"There's a new trend in Europe where they're tapping on the elbow. Why? Why touch at all?"
He continued, "Could we try to just get through this without doing stupid s--- to make it worse?"
Maher knocked the high demand for toilet paper and the stereotyping of Asian people, including referencing the coronavirus as the "Wuhan flu."
"It started in China, it has nothing to do with that. I hear people calling it the 'Wuhan flu.' This is a little insensitive," Maher said. "That's my message here. Just don't do stupid s--- to make it worse.
"You know what's up? All the businesses are closed in America -- except gun sales.
"So American," he said. " 'I'll shoot the virus!'... We don't do smart stuff in this country."
The "Real Time" host also knocked Disneyland for announcing it would be closing "tomorrow" instead of immediately.
"Because ask any doctor- that's how you do it. When there's an outbreak, you get everybody together for one last whiff," Maher quipped.