Can I Get COVID-19 By Pumping Gas?

In our "What's the Risk?" series, experts suggest washing your hands afterward should keep your risk pretty low.

Can I Get COVID-19 By Pumping Gas?

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Toby Yount asked: “What's the risk of getting COVID 19 if I'm pumping gas at a gas station?”

We asked the experts: Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention for HCA Continental Division; Dr. Irfan N. Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine; and Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at the Mayo Clinic. Their take: Contracting COVID-19 from pumping gas is low risk.

"Gas stations, the pumps really by nature, are pretty well social distance. I mean, you could have a risk of somebody on the other side of the pump where you couldn't maintain that six feet," Cary said.

"So the risk of pumping gas primarily comes from touching a common surface and so touching the gas pump itself. So if someone were ill and shedding virus and touch that before you, there could potentially be some virus that is on the gas pump. The virus does not go through intact skin. So as long as you wash your hands well, after you touch the gas pump, the risk of infection would be low," Dr. Rajapakse said.

"Yeah, I'm not worried about that one at all. " Dr. Hafiz said.

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