What's The Risk Of Catching COVID-19 From Using A Ride-Share?

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

What's The Risk Of Catching COVID-19 From Using A Ride-Share?

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Brian Shea asked, "What’s the risk if I take an Uber or Lyft?"

We asked the experts: Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at the Mayo Clinic; and Dr. Irfan N. Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine.

Their take: Contracting COVID-19 from riding in or driving a ride-share is medium-risk.

"So we know that this virus spreads most easily in indoor settings or when you're in close proximity to someone who is infected, and being in a car with someone who's infected would kind of fit into that criteria as well. I know many riders are really encouraging drivers and passengers not to use those services if they're feeling ill. And that's definitely something that we would recommend to everyone," Rajapakse said.

"The risk with scooters or bikes comes from many people kind of touching the same surface primarily. And so, yes, it is possible it is lower risk than coming face-to-face with someone that's infected. But we would encourage people to reduce that risk. You can wipe down the handlebars or any surfaces that you're touching and make sure to wash your hands well before and after you use those as well," Rajapakse said. 

"They're the shared rides certainly are a little more concerning that way. But I have seen a lot of these services. They're very much aware of this as well. So they're putting up either plastic or Plexiglas there to really keep that barrier," Hafiz said.

"Additionally, if you mask or the drivers also mask, that would further decrease your risk of getting infected in those settings. The other way that the virus can be transmitted is through common surfaces. And so anyone who is driving Uber or Lyft should take care to wipe down surfaces in between passengers in their car as well to further decrease their risk," Rajapakse 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