‘Don’t talk’: How to stay safe from COVID-19 inside elevators

For people in cities like New York, getting back to work during a pandemic may mean taking several elevator rides a day, to and from their office spaces ⁠— but without safety measures in place, elevators could become hot spots of COVID-19 spread, data suggests. 

COVID-19 can spread when infected people cough and spew large respiratory droplets, either contaminating people directly or depositing the virus onto nearby surfaces. The virus can also spread through smaller particles called aerosols, expelled when people breathe, talk or sing. Several superspreader events, where many people caught the virus from one infected individual, suggest that crowded, indoor spaces with poor ventilation present huge risks for disease transmission; elevators, being enclosed metal boxes with frequently-touched buttons, carry similar risks for spread, The New York Times reported.

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