How Risky Is Being A Bus Driver?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.

How Risky Is Being A Bus Driver?

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Darrol Pascua asked: 

“I am a special needs school bus driver who has several underlying health issues that put me in the high risk category of catching Covid19. My question is: even if I wear gloves and a mask and disinfect my bus daily what is the risk of me catching Covid19?” 

We asked the experts: Dr. Frank Esper, a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist, The Cleveland Clinic; Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention for HCA Continental Division; and Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Pediatric Infectious Diseases Physician at the Mayo Clinic.

We asked the experts. Their take: Contracting COVID-19 from a bus is high risk. 

"As a frontline worker, and I will call them from my work and they are at a higher risk than other individuals because people are coming right by them every day and staying in a very confined space, such as a bus that has a higher risk of transmission," Dr. Esper said.

"There are certainly risks with driving a bus. Most of those are related to how closely in contact you come with your passengers. Many buses have also started boarding passengers from the rear so that they're not coming in very close contact to the drivers.  Obviously, on a bus, it's hard to get access to soap and water. So frequent hand-washing using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethanol is a great way to make sure that your hands are clean, especially if you're doing things like handling money or bus tickets or things like that." Dr. Rajapakse said.

"Hopefully we will not have people who were sick or showing signs of illness getting on a bus. They really should be staying home," Cary said.

If you have a question about your risk, send us a video to whatstherisk@newsy.com. You can see answers to other questions here