“NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt celebrated his birthday with a creative, coronavirus-era method of extinguishing the candles on his cake.
Holt, who turned 61 on Sunday, posted a video of friends and family singing the traditional “Happy Birthday” song, complete with his grandson Henry saying they would “clap” the candles out.
“Birthday celebrations in this new era. Clapping, not blowing the candles out. Healthier but surprisingly more difficult,” Holt wrote to caption his video on Instagram.
As coronavirus continues to cause widespread panic across the globe, the NBC News anchor decided that spit and bacteria probably aren’t appropriate cake toppings. But Henry began to blow out the candles anyway, prompting Holt to joke, “That’s not clapping.”
Holt and his grandson eventually clapped most of the candles out, presumably making anyone who planned on eating the cake happy. A 2017 study by Journal of Food Research found that “blowing out the candles over the icing surface [of a cake] resulted in 1400 percent more bacteria compared to icing not blown on.”
“Due to the transfer of oral bacteria to icing by blowing out birthday candles, the transfer of bacteria and other microorganisms from the respiratory tract of a person blowing out candles to food consumed by others is likely,” the Journal of Food Research study added.
Person-to-person transmissions of coronavirus are thought to occur when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. People have been advised to avoid close contact with anyone who is ill, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands and to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.