While the number of infections in the United States is trending down, COVID-19 is still rapidly spreading—especially now with the new, more transmissible variants circulating around the country. Luckily, there has been a great deal of research looking into the likelihood of transmission at various places. Over the last year, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has made it his mission to educate Americans on how to stay safe during the pandemic. And these are the places he has identified as some of the riskier ones. Read on to find out how you'll likely catch COVID—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Drinking at Bars or Nightclubs
Due to the fact that bars and nightclubs aren't conducive to mask-wearing or social distancing, Fauci doesn't suggest visiting them during the pandemic. “Bars: really not good, really not good. Congregation at a bar, inside, is bad news. We really have got to stop that,” he said over the summer. “Bars are a really important place of spreading of infection. There's no doubt about that,” Fauci added during a September interview on MSNBC. “And that becomes particularly important if you happen to be in an area where there's a high degree of community spread.”
Dr. Fauci and the CDC have consistently urged Americans to avoid traveling unless it is essential. In one interview he himself even admitted that he hasn't gotten on a plane since the start of the pandemic. He also warned that “unless you absolutely know that you're not infected,” you shouldn't get on a plane. “If you want to have people who are going to be flying in from a place that has a lot of infection, you're going to an airport that might be crowded, you're on a plane,” he pointed out. “There are many people who are not going to want to take that risk.”
Dining Inside of a Restaurant
There have been a number of studies linking indoor dining to COVID spread. “We don't do anything inside,” Fauci recently revealed to the Washington Post about his dining habits. “I don't eat in restaurants. We do get takeout.” This goes back to the same reason he suggests avoiding bars, “when you're dealing with community spread, and you have the kind of congregate setting where people get together, particularly without masks, you're really asking for trouble,” he told Good Morning America.
Working Out in a Gym
Dr. Fauci regularly exercises—outdoors that is. “I wouldn't go to a gym,” he advised during an interview with the Washington Post last year. “I need to be so careful. I don't want to take a chance.” And, during an interview with MSNBC‘s All In With Chris Hayes he specifically named gyms as one of the handful of places with “a higher risk of transmissibility.”
During Group Worship
Whether you pray at a church, synagogue, or temple, Dr. Fauci warns that whenever there is a large gathering of people, especially indoors, it is risky. This can be evidenced by the large number of outbreaks linked to religious services. “Crowds in church are important and every time I get a chance to say it, I mention it,” Fauci told Science magazine. “When you say less than 10, it makes common sense that it involves the church.”
Going to the Theater
Again and again, Fauci has used indoor theaters—including movie theaters, live theater, or comedy shows—as a marker of when things will go back to normal again. Currently, he estimates that it will be safe to return to the movies and Broadway sometime in the fall. However, it depends on how many people get vaccinated and when herd immunity is achieved.
Taking a Cruise
Early in the pandemic, cruise ships were linked to major outbreaks. And, for the foreseeable future, Fauci discourages sea travel. “If you're a person with an underlying condition and you are particularly an elderly person with an underlying condition, you need to think twice about getting on a plane, on a long trip,” Fauci said during an interview last year with Meet the Press. “And not only think twice. Just don't get on a cruise ship.”
Via Any Contact With People Who May Be Carriers—And Your Risk Increases Indoors
Dr. Fauci has repeatedly said you could catch COVID from anyone—some may be asymptomatic, after all, even your family and friends. Take the Super Bowl for example. “Every time we do have something like this, there always is a spike, be it a holiday, Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving,” Fauci told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Wednesday. “As you mentioned, Super Bowl is a big deal in the United States. Enjoy the game, watch it on television, but do it with the immediate members of your family, the people in your household. As much fun as it is to get together in a big Super Bowl party, now is not the time to do that. Watch the game and enjoy it, but do it with your family or with people that are in your household.”
Do Your Part to End the Pandemic
So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.