Life Advice



Ask Amy: An elevator sneeze brings on panic

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I have a question about catching COVID from riding in an elevator. Yesterday I was on an elevator in a residential building.

I was wearing my mask and a scarf around my neck.

A young lady got on the elevator with no mask on. She started sneezing.

I quickly got panicky, and the elevator door opened.

I promptly left the building. I wasn't a tenant there.

Is there any chance I can catch the virus that way?


Please let me know. Thank you.

– Panicked

Dear Panicked: You can learn more about COVID and keep up on current research through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (

Several studies performed and published in the earlier days of the pandemic focused on the risk of contracting the virus while riding in an elevator. Standing close together in an enclosed space definitely creates a risk for virus transmission, and a sneeze forcefully sends droplets into the air, but ventilation systems used in many elevators tend to force those droplets downward toward the floor.


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