Is it safe to carpool during coronavirus pandemic? Tips for returning to daily routine

Simone Jasper
·2 min read

As coronavirus restrictions continue to lift in some states, health experts warn about potential risks of carpooling to work or school.

That’s because an infected person could spread COVID-19 during a car ride, according to experts.

“They’re shedding virus in their mouth and their nose and they’re speaking and talking, and in a small car, that individual is certainly going to transmit (the) virus,” Dr. Juan Salazar, physician-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s, told Good Morning America.

In neighboring Rhode Island, state health officials in a Facebook post this month called carpooling “Eco-Friendly, but COVID-Risky.” Still, few of the state’s coronavirus infections have been linked to shared rides, NBC News reported.

“Of all the people who have tested positive, roughly 15 have reported carpooling in the 14 days before symptom onset,” Joseph Wendelken, spokesperson for the Rhode Island Department of Health, told the news outlet. “They work for eight different organizations.”

The warnings comes as some of the country’s school districts are transitioning to in-person instruction after starting the semester with virtual learning. States recently have also eased restrictions on businesses that had been closed for months due to the pandemic.

So how can you carpool safely?

Reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 can start before you even get into the car. Health officials urge anyone who feels sick or may have been exposed to the virus to stay home.

In its guidance for rideshare drivers, the CDC recommends disinfecting vehicles before and after picking up passengers. It’s also best to limit the number of people in the carpool, health officials say.

While on the trip, everyone should wear a face mask and sit as far as possible from others, according to the CDC. Another tip is to open vents or windows to help with air flow, experts say.

After the commute, people who were in the carpool should use hand sanitizer until soap and water is available, according to the CDC.