December 4, 2020
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As part of an ongoing effort to promote face mask use within Connecticut’s public transportation system to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Joseph Giulietti (above left),  commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, joined Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz (D) (above right) on August 12 to distribute free face masks to rail passengers at train stations across the state.

[Above photo via the Lieutenant Governor’s Office.]

The agency said staffers positioned themselves near rail platforms and waiting areas at eight different rail stations to pass out roughly 2,000 face masks to train riders. That effort mirrors a similar one conducted by the Connecticut DOT on July 28 with Governor Ned Lamont (D) to hand out free masks to bus riders.

Photo by the Connecticut Lt. Governor’s Office.

“I have been extraordinarily pleased with the voluntary compliance we have seen on our bus and rail systems, and I think that speaks volumes of the shared concern our customers show for their fellow riders and for the crews that operate our trains and buses,” Giulietti, noted in a statement.

“[This] distribution event was meant to build on that momentum and to reinforce the positive direction Connecticut has been moving in as we take on COVID-19,” he said. “We really need our customers to remain vigilant, and to wear those masks, and I personally appreciate and applaud their continued compliance.”

“Connecticut went from a state with one of the highest infection rates to the lowest … but we are not out of this yet,” cautioned Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz. “It’s important that we continue to practice the ‘Three W’s: Wear a mask; wash your hands; and watch your distance. By providing our riders with face masks, we can continue to stop the spread of the virus.”

Photo via Wikipedia Commons

Meanwhile, a University of Southampton study examined the chances of catching COVID-19 in train cars that carry an “infectious person” and found that train passengers sitting within three rows (widthwise) and five columns (lengthwise) of an infected person (index patient) between zero and 10 percent caught the disease. The average rate of transmission for these ‘close contact’ travelers was 0.32 percent.

That study – based on data gleaned from high-speed rail passengers in China – also showed that train passengers travelling in seats directly adjacent to an index patient suffered the highest level of transmission, with an average of 3.5 percent contracting the disease.

For those sitting on the same row, the figure was 1.5 percent. Concurrently, the researchers found that only 0.075 percent of people who used a seat previously occupied by an index patient went on to contract the disease.

editor@aashto.org

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