What's The Risk Of Getting The Coronavirus From A Public Bus?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 12:47 PM, Apr 23, 2020

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Megan Graham asks: 

"If you ride a public bus and you don’t touch anything, can you get virus on your clothes? What’s the risk?"

Newsy asked the experts: Jason Farley, professor of nursing, infectious disease-trained nurse epidemiologist and nurse practitioner in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins Schools of Nursing and Medicine; Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention, HCA Continental Division; and Dr. Mary Schmidt, president of Schmidt and Libby Health Advisory Group, board-certified infectious diseases doctor, associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and clinical faculty at the Northern Virginia Inova. 

Their take- Contracting COVID-19 from a public bus is Medium Risk. 

"It's theoretically possible your clothes could be contaminated. And I keep trying to remind people that the more important thing is it's not going to go from your clothes or your skin into your nose, mouth or eyes without you actively taking then your hands and doing that," Schmidt said.

"Our clothing may not be picking up as much virus as we think when we sit down on a public bus or those kinds of things. Where we're most concerned is someone coughs or sneezes and there's large droplets that go directly on your clothing," Farley said.

"It really goes back to social distancing, saying or, you know, maintaining that 6 foot separation of people while you are on public transportation, which I know many public transportation departments are really focused on that and then staying home when sick. And then again, just washing your hands," Cary said.

If you have a question about your risk, email a video question to