Are You Really Safe From Coronavirus On The London Underground

There is a lot of misinformation out there about coronavirus. There must be. That’s why a recent poll found that 38% of beer-drinking Americans say they won't order a Corona because of the virus.

When bird flu was in the news did they swap which brand of powdered custard they bought? Probably.

It’s like the ignorance we had in the 80s but this time you can catch this illness from heavy petting and toilet seats. You’re more likely to do some heavy petting or spend time near a toilet seat if you have had lots of Corona lager to drink, so maybe they have a point.

I am all for averting a panic but I’m not sure about what the London mayor has been saying. Sadiq Khan has said there is ‘no risk’ of people catching coronavirus while travelling on buses or trains in the capital.

No risk? Has he been on the Tube? It feels like there’s a risk of catching things they haven’t been discovered yet.

There are loudspeaker safety announcements that tell us, “Always hold the handrail.” No way. I would rather take my chances with gravity than risk catching whatever lies on that dirty rubber band.

Mr Khan said it is “important we don’t spread panic or alarm”. I agree, but don’t promise too much. OK, the air is so thick and toxic down on the Underground that there’s a chance the virus is killed off as soon as it is sneezed out, but can we be 100% sure?

The thing about the Tube is that there are lots of people on it, around 5million use it everyday. And a lot of those people are dirty gits. You can be sat there, reading your copy of the Hackney Gazette*, minding your own business when you hear someone start coughing and you see they’re not covering their mouths.

They might as well be going round licking the metal poles. People would still get ill but at least the poles would get a bit of a clean.

Some have tried to reduce their chance of catching corona on the Tube. There have been pictures of people wearing one cup from an old bra over their face. Don’t do that in public. That’s the kind of thing to enjoy in the privacy of your own home.

There was one man who wore a Tesco bag-for-life over his head. It might stop you breathing in germs but only because it’ll stop you breathing. Even children know not to put plastic bags on their heads. That bag-for-life won’t have to last long to fulfil the promise in its name.

There are still relatively few cases of people with COVID-19 in the UK so the odds of contracting it are very small. There’s no need to make your own hazmat suit but don’t promise there’s no chance of catching it on the Tube because that would imply it’s safer down there than everywhere else. And if that's true, the rest of the world needs a deep clean.

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*Where you can read my newspaper column

[Audio]: A look at the hygiene advice we’re getting with COVID-19

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