In New York City, the subway has been closed from 1 to 5 a.m. every night since May 6 to do a deep cleaning amid the coronavirus pandemic. It marks the first time there has been a complete shutdown of 24-hour service since the subway opened in 1904.
As commuters return to mass transit to get to work, many of them are wondering, is it safe?
Wearing protective gear, Inside Edition carefully swabbed and collected 32 samples from subway cars across the city. The swabs were taken from just about everything you can touch — handrails, touch screens, seats, subway poles — even the air vents above your head.
The samples were sent to IEH Laboratories in Seattle, Washington, for testing. They revealed good news — despite the fact that New York City was once considered the epicenter of the pandemic, not one of the samples tested positive for COVID-19.
"These results are great," said Dr. Jack Caravanos, a leading expert on environmental health.
When asked if he was surprised by the results, Caravanos said, "I'm actually not. I've been riding the subways recently and I've noticed a definite increase in cleanliness. And the fact that people are wearing masks and be very careful not to even touch items is even better."
In a statement, the New York City Transit Authority said, "Given intensive disinfecting and cleaning of the subway system multiple times each day, it's not surprising that dozens of independent tests found no virus present."
Although Inside Edition's tests came up clean, experts say that doesn't mean the crisis is over.
"So it's important that we continue to wear masks, especially in the subway ... and thinking twice about handling any solid objects," Caravanos said.
It's estimated that over a billion people go through New York's subway turnstiles every year.