By Dr. Anthony Policastro

I lived at home when I went to college. I lived in the southeast corner of New York City in Rockaway Beach.

My school was in the northwest corner of New York City in the Bronx. Each day I would take the subway two hours in each direction to get to and from college.

What I didn’t know then was that subways are good for your health. A recent study looked at 300,000 commuters. It covered the period between 1991 and 2016.

Of that group, a total of 67 percent drove to work. Another 18 percent used public transportation. A group of 11 percent actually walked to work. The remaining 3 percent cycled to work.

The comparison of drivers to those who used trains was pretty clear cut. Those who used trains had a 12 percent lower rate of cancer diagnosis. They had a 21 percent reduced rate of death from heart disease. They had a 10 percent reduced rate of death from all causes.

There was also a difference in mode of public transportation. Those who took buses had no advantage over those who drove to work.

There was a benefit to walking to work from the standpoint of having a cancer diagnosis. Walkers had a 7 percent lower rate of cancer diagnosis.

However, they did not have a lower rate of death from cancer. This suggests that walkers had other factors that interfered with them getting treatment for cancer when they got it.

The authors thought that it was related to economics. They may have been walking because it was the means of transportation they could afford. But when they did receive a cancer diagnosis, they might not have had the financial means to get the care paid for. That was just a supposition by the authors.

This particular study did not show a benefit to walking or cycling. However, that was related to the specific things that they looked at.

Many other studies have not shown that exercise related to walking or cycling has long-term benefits.

Of course not everyone can choose their mode of transportation. There might not be a train to take to work. It might be too far to walk or cycle to work. However, if there is a choice, one mode of transportation does seem better than others.

So in retrospect perhaps those hours I spent riding the New York City subways were not really wasted. I may have gained them back in the long run.


The national figures continue to look like there has not been an increase in cases associated with the reopening of activities. We continue to see between 17,000 and 22,000 new cases per day. There was a spike to 41,000 on June 6th but that was just one day.

Locally we are seeing the same thing. For five of the last six days, there have been less than 10 new cases per day in Sussex County.

The picture continues to look like a lower rate with summer weather occurring. The next week will give us a feel as to whether the recent protests will create any increase in the number of cases nationally.

“Some people wonder if the lockdown was unnecessary. Great Britain decided to delay their lockdown to develop herd immunity. Sweden decided to not do a lockdown but asked people over age 50 to stay at home.

On May 5th Great Britain had the fourth highest death rate of any nation. Today they have moved into second place. On May 5th Sweden has the 8th highest death rate. Today they have moved into 5th place. On May 5th the U.S. had the 9th highest death rate. Today they remain in 9th place.”