DEEP DIVE: Tips on how to stay COVID-safe on public transportation
News 12 asked its viewers on Twitter if you're concerned about catching COVID-19 while riding public transportation and the final results were very close.
It was almost a 50/50 tie between yes and no with a less than 1% difference between the two.
Riders who said yes told News 12 they have concerns about catching COVID-19 during their commute. "Yes. Lack of social distancing and mask compliance," says Michael Muscaro. "Yes, because people don't wear their masks," says Kirsten Fisher.
Experts say whether riding a bus or train, public transportation can be a breeding ground for the Omicron variant. "It's really a Petri dish of microorganisms," says WestMed Medical Group Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Sandra Kesh.
Dr. Kesh says there are some things you can do to keep yourself safe. "The best protection remains vaccination and the mask. You just don't know what the passenger next to you...whether they've been vaccinated."
Dr. Kesh says if someone sits near you without a mask on or is wearing one incorrectly, it's best to move when social distancing on public transportation is impossible. "That's where masking is...you know...essential. If you have an N95, use it. If you have a surgical mask, double masking. You know, the more layers of barrier you put between your mouth and nose and the outside world, the more effective in preventing spread."
She also says stick to the basics - make sure to sanitize or wash your hands, and don't touch your face.
Experts also say if you've been fully vaccinated in the last six months or boosted, you should not be overly concerned about getting exposed during your commute and that it's unvaccinated people who are most at risk.