Op-ed: How to protect from coronavirus in your car

Keeping your car windows open a crack is an easy way to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission when you’re driving, according to experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

COVID-19 can be spread not just by droplets from coughing or sneezing, but even by aerosols released from talking or simply breathing, wrote Harvard Chan School’s Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science, John Spengler, Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation, and Portland State University’s Richard Corsi in an April 22, 2020 opinion piece in USA Today. So even someone who seems fine can spread disease—and evidence suggests that this asymptomatic transmission is happening a lot. This isn’t a big problem outdoors because people can social distance, and the wind dilutes airborne virus. But in the enclosed space of a car it’s impossible to social distance.

“So the next time you’re in your car—be it your own vehicle with others or in a taxi, Uber or Lyft—it’s all the same advice: Open up the windows just a bit, even if everyone is feeling fine,” the authors wrote. Doing so will dilute the concentration of viral particles in the car. “Having everyone in the car wear a mask can also help and is a must in a taxi or ride-share vehicle,” they wrote.

If you want to keep the windows closed, make sure the car is not in recirculating air mode, the authors advised—and wash your hands after your trip.

Read the USA Today article: Is there coronavirus in your car? Here’s how you can protect yourself.