New Amtrak Covid Policy

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
4,104
Location
Baltimore. MD
How does this work, then? Do you get an email the day before your trip asking the questions and requiring you to respond before boarding? Are they going to have TSA-like screeners at the train station to let you on the platform? If, for some reason, you didn't respond to the email questions, are they going to question you at the station and not let you board if your answers are "wrong?" I don't mind answering the questions, but I wonder why they didn't bother doing this last year when there was more risk out and about.
 
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
583
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
I'd like to know as well.

How does this work, then? Do you get an email the day before your trip asking the questions and requiring you to respond before boarding? Are they going to have TSA-like screeners at the train station to let you on the platform? If, for some reason, you didn't respond to the email questions, are they going to question you at the station and not let you board if your answers are "wrong?" I don't mind answering the questions, but I wonder why they didn't bother doing this last year when there was more risk out and about.
 

Eric in East County

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 20, 2016
Messages
331
Location
East San Diego County
They asked me those questions and checked my temperature at the checkin desk of the Metropolitan Lounge in NYP, but at that time they did not ask me those to get on the train.

Most interesting! A few months ago we asked if Amtrak was checking the temperatures of people boarding trains and the general opinion was that the taking of temperatures to get into various places had generally been discontinued. We recently had to undergo temperature checks to get onto the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot here in San Diego. Also, our healthy care provider Kaiser Permanente always does temperature checks whenever we enter one of their facilities.

Eric & Pat
 

willem

Maintenance
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
1,187
Location
in the depths
Technically, you can still get and carry COVID but the chances are minimal.
My understanding, and I welcome correction, is that the chance of getting COVID after vaccination is 5% or greater.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
30,484
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
My understanding, and I welcome correction, is that the chance of getting COVID after vaccination is 5% or greater.
95% efficacy vaccine means that the probability of getting an infection after getting vaccinated is 5% of what it is without the vaccine, i.e. assuming the probability of getting infected is 100% without the vaccine. The actual chance is obtained by multiplying that by the attack rate, i.e the infection rate at the moment of the unvaccinated, which of course changes over time depending on the prevalent state and intensity of the epidemic at that location.

It should be noted that it does not say anything about the intensity of said infection (unless specifically tested for in the trial) or more importantly the transmissibility of such an infected person, which are also major a factor in what net effect it has in the overall case rate.
 
Last edited:

Eric in East County

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 20, 2016
Messages
331
Location
East San Diego County
Re: Amtrak’s COVID-related questions, that whole drill appears to be based entirely on the honor system with no way to verify if the person answered truthfully. Now that Amtrak is going back to full capacity in its coaches, what guarantee can it provide that the person sitting next to you does not have COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone who does. Can a passenger refuse to sit next to someone who is not known to them and who has not been properly screened to see, at the very least, if they are running a fever? If it becomes obvious that someone onboard an Amtrak train is suffering COVID-19 symptoms, will Amtrak put them off at the next stop for lying on their questionnaire?

Thank you, but we’ll stick to traveling in a private bedroom.

Eric & Pat
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,882
Location
Austin Texas
Re: Amtrak’s COVID-related questions, that whole drill appears to be based entirely on the honor system with no way to verify if the person answered truthfully. Now that Amtrak is going back to full capacity in its coaches, what guarantee can it provide that the person sitting next to you does not have COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone who does. Can a passenger refuse to sit next to someone who is not known to them and who has not been properly screened to see, at the very least, if they are running a fever? If it becomes obvious that someone onboard an Amtrak train is suffering COVID-19 symptoms, will Amtrak put them off at the next stop for lying on their questionnaire?

Thank you, but we’ll stick to traveling in a private bedroom.

Eric & Pat
Masks are still Mandatory on All Amtrak Trains and in the Stations until Sept per Federal Regulation.

As for Coach passengers being "Safe", it will depend on Amtrak OBS and Conductors enforcing this policy.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
30,484
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Re: Amtrak’s COVID-related questions, that whole drill appears to be based entirely on the honor system with no way to verify if the person answered truthfully. Now that Amtrak is going back to full capacity in its coaches, what guarantee can it provide that the person sitting next to you does not have COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone who does. Can a passenger refuse to sit next to someone who is not known to them and who has not been properly screened to see, at the very least, if they are running a fever? If it becomes obvious that someone onboard an Amtrak train is suffering COVID-19 symptoms, will Amtrak put them off at the next stop for lying on their questionnaire?

Thank you, but we’ll stick to traveling in a private bedroom.

Eric & Pat
Absent PCR testing everyone there is no way to verify or give any guarantees. Even with a PCR test there is no guarantee. Of course adhering to mask policy also tilts the probabilities in favor of not getting infected. It is all probabilities. At the end of the day everyone is pretty much on their own as far as actual risk assessment and risk tolerance goes. Amtrak is not unique in this. This is true of all domestic flights too.

The best one can do is to require everyone to have a clean PCR test before boarding a train/plane . That is what is done on many international flights, but that would seem to be an overkill with the current state of the pandemic in the US, specially for vaccinated people.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,843
Can a passenger refuse to sit next to someone who is not known to them and who has not been properly screened to see, at the very least, if they are running a fever? If it becomes obvious that someone onboard an Amtrak train is suffering COVID-19 symptoms, will Amtrak put them off at the next stop for lying on their questionnaire?
Running a fever does NOT mean Covid. It simply means they are sick. There are lots of causes for it.

Yes, someone can refuse to sit next to you for any reason. They can exit the train. How does the person sitting next to you know that you have been properly screened? Should you be tested for a fever?

What do you mean"obvious" that someone is suffering Covid symptoms? Those same symptoms have occurred long before Covid. How does someone know your symptoms are Covid? Should they call the conductor and demand you be tested? You must have lied on the questionnaire if you have coughing or running nose. Of course, it could be allergies but you are guilty and should be kicked off the train.

Yes, you would do best in your own room. Be sure not to go to the diner either.

You might also read this thread from FlyerTalk
 

Barb Stout

Conductor
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
1,004
Location
Albuquerque, NM
95% efficacy vaccine means that the probability of getting an infection after getting vaccinated is 5% of what it is without the vaccine, i.e. assuming the probability of getting infected is 100% without the vaccine. The actual chance is obtained by multiplying that by the attack rate, i.e the infection rate at the moment of the unvaccinated, which of course changes over time depending on the prevalent state and intensity of the epidemic at that location.

It should be noted that it does not say anything about the intensity of said infection (unless specifically tested for in the trial) or more importantly the transmissibility of such an infected person, which are also major a factor in what net effect it has in the overall case rate.
So if 30% of the population of your community has Covid19, then 0.3X0.05=0.015 which I believe means that if a fully vaccinated person goes out and about in that community without masks, social distancing etc, then the chance of catching Covid19 for that vaccinated person is 1.5%. Is that correct?
 

Eric in East County

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 20, 2016
Messages
331
Location
East San Diego County
Our “take away” from this discussion thread is that:
  • Amtrak’s COVID-19 Questionnaire is, at best, a token gesture since there is no way to verify the truthfulness of the answers that are provided.
  • It appears that, at present, there is little that Amtrak can do to prevent someone infected with COVID-19 (or anything else for that matter) from riding its trains and, once “social distancing” restrictions are eased, from possibly infecting other passengers.
  • By choosing to travel by train, one should be thoroughly familiar with and then be prepared to take the necessary prophylactic measures to protect themselves from becoming infected by others.
While we welcome the easing of government-imposed restrictions that have resulted in schools being closed and people not being allowed to go to work, attend church & private family gatherings, go to restaurants, attend concerts & athletic events, etc., we reserve the right to follow our own personal protection plan, taking whatever steps we feel are necessary to keep us safe whenever we are out in public.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
30,484
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
So if 30% of the population of your community has Covid19, then 0.3X0.05=0.015 which I believe means that if a fully vaccinated person goes out and about in that community without masks, social distancing etc, then the chance of catching Covid19 for that vaccinated person is 1.5%. Is that correct?
Over the entirety of the pandemic, but that is a bit of an after the fact thing and also a bit hokey (see below), since you will know the net attack rate for the entire pandemic (though not of only the unvaccinated in any easy way) only after it is all done, and the attack rate can change wildly on the way to the end of the pandemic. It is more useful to get a feel for what is my chance of getting infected today.

This more useful use as far as I understand it, is to see what is the daily case rate per something like 100K is, which gives a you a good estimate of the attack rate. That multiplied by (100-efficacy)/100 (i.e. 95% efficacy gives the multiplier of 0.05) gives you what the infection rate would be for an otherwise unprotected vaccinated person.

So for example today the case rate in my county is 6.5/100K, so the estimated daily case rate for an unprotected vaccinated person who has a 95% efficacy vaccine would be 0.325/100K or something like 0.0003%. This is the reason that CDC has relaxed the mask thing for the vaccinated, specially with an R-0 down at 0.76..

If we use the cumulative cases so far as a proportion of the population in our case it is about 10%, so yes your computation would give 0.5%, but that is a synthetic number, in the sense that since the vaccine was not available through the entire period it is hard to imagine how somone could have been vaccinated at all over that period, and if it was available that would skew the number significantly making it not great a proxy for the unvaccinated. That is becoming a significant issue even with the daily number as more people get vaccinated. So using it as a proxy for unvaccinated will tend to give a lower than actual estimate of infection rate for the vaccinated.

Does that make sense? I don't claim to be an expert but this line of thinking seems to be an useful way of making practical use of the jumble of numbers we get every day.
 
Last edited:

willem

Maintenance
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
1,187
Location
in the depths
[...] the probability of getting an infection after getting vaccinated [...]
Thank you for that discussion. Things are better than I expected and made them out to be. On the other hand, I understand that the effectiveness of most or all COVID (and non-COVID, for that matter) vaccines goes down as the age of the subject group goes up.
It should be noted that it does not say anything about the intensity of said infection (unless specifically tested for in the trial) [...]
Didn't the Pfizer and Moderna trials test for that? I thought they both claimed 100% efficacy for prevention of ICU admissions and deaths.
 

Barb Stout

Conductor
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
1,004
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Does that make sense? I don't claim to be an expert but this line of thinking seems to be an useful way of making practical use of the jumble of numbers we get every day.
Yes, sort of. A few weeks ago I read an article that explained the math and while I could follow it as I read the article, it didn't stick with me as it's more complicated than simple percentages, iirc.
 

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,971
Location
EOTL
Now that Amtrak is going back to full capacity in its coaches, what guarantee can it provide that the person sitting next to you does not have COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone who does.
At no time does Amtrak (or any other carrier) promise you will not sit next to an infected passenger.

Can a passenger refuse to sit next to someone who is not known to them and who has not been properly screened to see, at the very least, if they are running a fever?
You can refuse whatever you want but at that point it's up to the carrier to re-accommodate you or not.

If it becomes obvious that someone onboard an Amtrak train is suffering COVID-19 symptoms, will Amtrak put them off at the next stop for lying on their questionnaire?
I believe the point is not to ensure that every answer is true so much as to establish liability.
 
Last edited:

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
708
If there was any positive during the pandemic it was the guarantee of both seats. I couldn't resist the $50 coach sale and I booked Lax to Pdx next week. I am hoping for both seats to myself but with so many people traveling I doubt it will happen. I do plan spending most of my time in the SSL car.

Last three seatmates I've had in Coach overnight were grossly overweight,had body odor and hit me up for money. On the other hand a few times I had lovely young ladies seated next to me,but that is the exception.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
30,484
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Thank you for that discussion. Things are better than I expected and made them out to be. On the other hand, I understand that the effectiveness of most or all COVID (and non-COVID, for that matter) vaccines goes down as the age of the subject group goes up.
For fun recompute with 10 percentage points subtracted from the efficacy and recompute to convince yourself that you are still quite safe. Remember J&J is in the 80% zone at full efficacy and it is considered to be very good.When you get down to below 70% things start getting shaky.
Didn't the Pfizer and Moderna trials test for that? I thought they both claimed 100% efficacy for prevention of ICU admissions and deaths.
Yes. But out in the field there have been both ICU visits and deaths in breakout infections after vaccination, though very few aascribed unequivocally to COVID. But the number is greater than 0. Trial numbers usually are more optimistic than actual field numbers. But on the whole the field numbers are not devastating either, except that there are no 100% guarantees, which of course we knew all along. CDC has a report out on it posted at its site. Just look for something like "Breakout Infection Report" or some such.
 

willem

Maintenance
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
1,187
Location
in the depths
So for example today the case rate in my county is 6.5/100K, so the estimated daily case rate for an unprotected vaccinated person who has a 95% efficacy vaccine would be 0.325/100K or something like 0.03%.
Wouldn't that be 0.0003%? I'm so confused...

For fun recompute with 10 percentage points subtracted from the efficacy and recompute to convince yourself that you are still quite safe.
In the example you just gave, I believe that would be 0.975/100K, or about 10 in a million.

But with 0% efficacy (unvaccinated), the chance is "only" 65 in a million. Have I carried that its (il)logical extreme?
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
3,032
Location
SW ATL airport
If I walked into a doctors office that was not enforcing C=19 protocols I would immediately leave and not return, Too many chances of a immune compromised person getting exposed. Some have been found to not get any anti bodies after vaccinated. I do not want to be a person who is immune but has become a typhoid Mary.
 

lizpackslight

Train Attendant
Joined
May 9, 2021
Messages
17
Location
Alabama
Last three seatmates I've had in Coach overnight were grossly overweight,had body odor and hit me up for money. On the other hand a few times I had lovely young ladies seated next to me,but that is the exception.
You are the second person who has reported people hitting them up for money in Coach. I would be unspeakably uncomfortable if that happened to me! o_O It happens on the subway, but I didn't expect that on Amtrak.

I'm riding the southbound Crescent later today and it is supposedly at 90% capacity. I'll let y'all know how the Covid precautions are.
 

jebr

Enthusiastic Transit Rider
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
4,585
Location
"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN
I received the same email two hours before my trip. Not really sure if it'll do much good but I filled it out anyways. There was a checkmark for Amtrak employees to use if they were filling it out for a passenger. I haven't heard any announcements on board regarding the form, though.
 

Attachments

River in Sight

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
20
I did a round trip ALX-NPN over the weekend. Before my outbound trip I received an email to complete the survey, and I did it. Before the inbound trip I did not receive an email and had already forgotten about it, so I didn’t do it. The conductor did make an announcement that the survey should be completed. My ticket scanned without issue. My return train today was at 90% full and all passengers were wearing masks.
 
Top