“Everybody is very scared,” Shaderra Armstead, a health care clinic receptionist who rides the subway to work, said this week. ”They’re trying to keep their distance from each other, but it’s impossible.”

“It makes me not want to go on the train at all,” she said. “I’m nervous every day, but I still have to go.”

Riders on some trains in Brooklyn and Queens this week sat or stood in some cars within a few feet of one another, some with their faces uncovered, while keeping their distance from homeless people camped out. At the same time, there are images showing subway platforms mostly empty at times they’d typically be crowded.

Transit officials say they’re working harder than ever to protect passengers and their own workers amid a pandemic that has killed more than 7,000 New Yorkers in just a few weeks, mostly in the city and its suburbs. Several suburban counties in New Jersey and Connecticut have also registered significant numbers of deaths.