Lester Holt shares video 'clapping, not blowing the candles out' on his birthday

"Healthier but surprisingly more difficult."

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/ Source: TODAY
By Terri Peters

Lester Holt turned 61 on Sunday, and the NBC Nightly News anchor found a unique way to extinguish the candles on his birthday cake: clapping, not blowing, them out with the help of his adorable grandson, Henry.

"Birthday celebrations in this new era," Lester wrote in an Instagram post sharing a video of himself and 2-year-old Henry in front of his birthday cake. "Healthier but surprisingly more difficult."

While little Henry looks thrilled to celebrate — and eat cupcakes — the toddler is also adorably confused by the change in protocol.

"And now we can clap them out," Henry says as he moves to blow out the candles.

"That's not clapping," Lester laughs as he attempts to clap out the flames.

As coronavirus spreads nationwide, Americans are stockpiling non-perishable food items and scouring their local stores for hard-to-find items like disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. Still, amidst school closures and changes in travel plans related the outbreak, celebrations — like Lester's birthday — must go on.

Lester's son, Stefan Holt, also shared a tribute to his sons' "granddude" on Instagram, posting a sweet photo of Lester holding Henry, who turns 3 in November, in front of a plate of birthday cupcakes topped with a sparkling "happy birthday" cake topper.

"Birthday celebration for @lesterholtnbc," he wrote, "and due to germ concerns, we opted not to blow out the candles this year."

Lester also was celebrated by his team at NBC Nightly News late last week, proving that, coronavirus be darned, some occasions are just worth going all out for.

So just how germ-covered is a birthday cake after being blown on by the birthday boy ... or girl?

Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital in Ohio, says blowing out candles could expel "oral secretions" onto the cake, but it's unclear whether or not such secretions would be infectious. Esper adds that "respiratory secretions" — like phlegm — are expelled by coughing and can be infectious.

"If someone is having symptoms of a cold or flu, including fever, cough, body aches, runny nose, etc., then they should refrain from blowing out candles," Esper told TODAY Parents. "We'd actually encourage them to consider postponing and not inviting guests."

"I've never seen a clap out of candles, but I'd still encourage people to wash their hands," Esper continued. "We'd recommend washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. And, you could also replace candles with sparklers. It still makes for a memorable experience and helps to reduce the spread of germs."