Keeping the virus at bay is the top and foremost priority these days. A face mask has been added to the "check before leaving" daily bundle next to keys, wallet, and phone, and as we’re on our way to the second wave, we're kinda used to this whole thing.
But people are still getting creative with the most questionable face (and body) coverings that defy science, common sense, and simply aesthetics. I mean, would you put a plastic bag on your head? While you think, let me tell you that this time, we’re covering not the random bunch of people wearing "wut da heck is dat" in a public space, but the full-on "subway creatures." Compiled by the amusing Twitter page by the same name, “Subway Creatures” give us a glimpse of weird, weirder, and the weirdest, but in times of pandemic.
After you’re done, check out our previous post about people spotted reading incredibly strange books on the subway. As they say, reality is stranger than fiction.
To find out more about the "subway creatures" amid the pandemic, Bored Panda reached out to Rick McGuire, the founder of widely popular Subway Creatures Instagram. Rick said that there have been a lot of changes in the subway during the viral outbreak.
“A good number of people are still scared to use public transportation despite studies showing there is a very minimal risk of contracting Covid-19 on the trains. In addition, there is a decent amount of people who no longer have to commute to work because they are now working from home.”
Rick said that all of this adds up to ridership at an all-time low. “It’s hurting the public transportation system badly, as well as content for my page Subway Creatures.” Right now, it is the law to wear a face mask on the NYC subway, so people have been getting very creative.
He recounted seeing people “use everything from plastic bottles to shopping bags to women's underwear. It's definitely weird and funny, but a constant reminder of the times we're living in,” he concluded.
Although we’re all well into this newly found lifestyle amid the worldwide pandemic, there’s still a bunch of misinformation surfing around. We previously wrote about the new study carried out by the team of scientists at Duke University in North Carolina. Scientists carried out tests on 14 face coverings of different styles, and found out that neck fleeces performed the worst because the material broke down large droplets into smaller ones that spread into the air more easily.
There’s no question that most of the makeshift coverings will not help to stop the spread of coronavirus. But according to Anna Davies, a scientist at The Cambridge Centre for Data-Driven Discovery who researches face mask efficacy, “a homemade mask should only be considered as a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected individuals, but it would be better than no protection.”
Anna also stressed that symptomatic individuals, if they need to come into contact with others (e.g. shared house or trip to hospital), may lower the risk of transmission if a mask is worn. However, Anna warned that “The mask should be very carefully handled and decontaminated before disposal.”
Her study showed that a commonly used t-shirt mask (stretchy cotton fabric was by far the most wearable) was about a third as effective as a surgical mask at filtering small particles, with the same issues of airborne intrusion that surgical masks have. However, the general public is advised to wear one as a minimum barrier to stop face touching when a healthy individual is out on a necessary trip e.g. for food.
In a previous interview with Bored Panda, Rick McGuire said that it all started in 2011 when he launched "Subway Creatures" as a website. Fueled by his personal interest in observing commuters and the subway, Rick then launched Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts.
“NYC has this unspoken rule of 'keep your head down and mind your own business,' but I'm a huge people-watcher. There's so much going on around you at all times and it would be a shame to miss some of these typical 'New York moments.' When I'm on the train, I always find myself looking for obscurities and checking my surroundings. You never know what you'll see!"
“Subway Creatures” has gained a cult following with 2.1 million followers devoted to weird, weirder and the weirdest on subways. This space of everything bizarre captivated Rick as he himself was commuting to work. "I was commuting to work in NYC every day and seeing the wild, bizarre, and crazy things the city has to offer and noticed there really wasn't a place where it was all being documented."