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A contractor cleans a subway car at the 96th Street station in NYC. Photo: John Minchillo/AP

Transit authorities are busting out every trick in the book to coax riders back on trains and buses.

Why it matters: In regular times, riding on a subway car is dramatically safer than driving a car to the office. But social distancing is next to impossible on mass transit, especially during an airborne pandemic

  • Officials are hoping to keep essential workers healthy, including transit staff. The CDC has recommended to employers that employees use cars instead of transit, but that's not an option for many.
  • Add in office reopenings and the start of school, and this fall gets dicey fast.

The laundry list at play AP:

  • Ultraviolet light in Moscow and Shanghai.
  • Ozone gas in Hungary and the Czech Republic.
  • "Dry fogging" in Dallas.
  • Hydrogen peroxide solution in Hong Kong.
  • New York is also considering testing low levels of far-UVC light, which a study suggested last month could kill human coronavirus without harming eyes and skin.

The bottom line: These projects come at a steep cost, with NYC's MTA estimating it could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • The city, like many others, has added more subway cars and signage to help people distance as much as possible.
  • The MTA warned last month that it could run out of cash by August without another big round of stimulus spending.

Go deeper

Oct 21, 2020 - Health

New York reports most coronavirus cases since May

Gov. Andrew Cuomo at an Oct. 6 press briefing. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York reported over 2,000 positive coronavirus cases on Wednesday — the most infections seen in the state since May, per COVID Tracking Project (CTP) and health department data.

The big picture: Hospitalizations have been creeping back up in New York, alongside 38 other states. New York is currently seeing more than 900 hospitalizations a day, the CTP reports.

Updated 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Americans shrug off Omicron, Axios-Ipsos poll finds — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise."
  2. Vaccines: Omicron gives a shot to boosters — U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down.
  3. States: Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers.
  4. World: EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines — Poor global equity likely in COVID pill access — CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 21, 2020 - World

Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million COVID-19 cases

Photo: Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

Spain exceeded 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, becoming the first country in Western Europe to hit the milestone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The state of play: Spain, which reported 16,973 cases over the previous 24 hours, was one of the most affected countries when the pandemic started, and cases have been on the rise since September, according to NPR.