Nobody wants to ride the subway during coronavirus. But are cabs and ride shares, such as Uber and Lyft, really safer than a subway?
Well, it depends, says microbiologist Jason Tetro.
The pros to calling or hailing a car? Limited exposure to strangers in person.
“If you are in an Uber, the likelihood is that you are surrounded by people you know, or it’s just you and the driver,” Tetro, author of “The Germ Code” (Penguin), tells The Post. “The people you know, hopefully they are not sick. And if they are, you will be less than six feet away from them over the course of your day or night together.”
As for the driver, says Tetro, “He is facing away from you. The likelihood of him coughing or sneezing on you is low. Plus, if he was very sick, he probably would not be working.”
But a lower body count doesn’t mean you’re totally in the clear.
In a rideshare, Tetro says, surfaces are risky.
“If the previous passenger was coughing and spurting and putting his germs on the seat-belt and door, there’s not much you can do,” he says. “You should be using hand sanitizer the second you get out of the Uber.”
And it’s even worse if you go for a rideshare, such as UberPool or LyftLine, says Tetro. In those cases, you’re fewer than six feet away from the other passengers, and have no idea what their COVID-19 health status might be.
In that instance, he says, “it may be better to take the subway.”
That’s especially true because trains are less crowded now than usual.
“With all the closures and fewer people on the subway, you [probably can] stay six –feet apart from the nearest passenger,” says Tetro. “Then it may be even-Steven between subway and Uber.”
But with subways, there’s also the unpredictability factor.
“The subway is a dynamic transmission environment,” he says, meaning that somebody can sneeze or cough as they exit the subway car and you enter. “You can literally walk into a droplet cloud.”
Tetro’s modes of transit from safest to most vulnerable? Uber by yourself, Uber with a friend, subway, Uber share.
And the best way of traveling at all during these troubled times?
“The winner in all of this is always walking. Otherwise, if you can, get around by biking,” he says.