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5 Places You'll Most Likely Catch COVID, According to Experts

The coronavirus pandemic is not over, and it's not waning either—in fact, cases are rising again, as more people go indoors. "The current seven day daily average of cases is about 92,800. This is an 18% increase from last week," warned CDC Chief Rochelle Walensky this week. "The seven day average of hospital admissions is about 5,600 per day, about a 6% increase from the prior seven day average. And the seven day average daily deaths are about 1,000 per day." Contrast that with the number of daily cases experts say would make us a whole lot safer: a comparatively tiny 10,000. So where are you most likely to catch COVID? Read on for 5 places—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


You're More Likely to Catch COVID in States With High Concentrations of COVID

Two doctors wearing personal personal protective equipment

Needless to say, states where COVID is spreading at a denser rate than others are more risky. ​​"Remember we were hot in the South for a while," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "And then now, we're getting into the cold, the places that are getting cold or sooner, which are in the Northern part of the country, and in certain places … in the North and Northeast, which was cooler from the standpoint of hot, signifying a number of infections, but starting to see that. But now, if you look at the map, it's scattered all over, particularly as people now go more indoors rather than outdoors, because of the cold weather." Virus expert Dr. Michael Osterholm has noted cases are going up in Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Vermont and these states are "lighting up": Maine, Rhode Island, Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

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You're More Likely to Catch COVID Indoors Around Unvaccinated People

Man gesturing stop to nurse offering syringe with vaccine.

"For the people who are vaccinated, the people who can get boosted, enjoy your holiday season with your family. Indoors, grandparents, children, do it," Fauci said. However, if you are unvaccinated yourself or around other unvaccinated people indoors, wear a mask. States like Michigan—which is seeing a major surge right now—have have warned that COVID that COVID can be spread indoors. "The holidays can be a time to spread great cheer and we recommend taking measures including wearing a mask indoors to not spread COVID-19 to loved ones," Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan's chief medical executive, said in a statement announcing an advisory.

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You're More Likely to Catch COVID Indoors Than Outdoors

Family talking over dinner.

"Indoors is better than outdoors," has been a common refrain from Fauci and other experts. It still holds true, despite so many Americans being vaccinated. Why? "Vaccines continue to reduce a person's risk of contracting the virus that cause COVID-19, including this variant. Vaccines are highly effective against severe illness, but the Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of the virus that causes COVID-19," says the CDC. "COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch."

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You're More Likely to Catch COVID Standing Too Close to Someone Else

female friends talking at a coffee shop

The "social distancing" thing is still in effect. "People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected," says the CDC. "COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:

  • Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
  • Having these small droplets and particles that contain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
  • Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them."

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You're More Likely to Catch COVID at These Places

Church People Believe Faith Religious Praying

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has warned you can catch COVID at houses of worship, hotels, bars, cafés and restaurants. "It's really these five primary locations where viral transmissions are happening in our society," Dr. Gupta said, not including in the home.

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Will This Pandemic Ever End? Here's What Dr. Fauci Says

Female Doctor hands holding vaccine bottle and syringe.

"Well, no doubt. It's going to end," Dr. Fauci told an Israeli audience this week. "Then I believe how soon it ends is really going to depend on how successful we are in getting the world vaccinated." He bemoaned fake news. "It is so frustrating when you do have not only an intervention, but a highly, highly effective intervention, and we don't maximally utilize it. It just is really unfortunate because if we could get all, I mean, in the United States, for example, there are 64 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet gotten vaccinated—that just should not happen when you have such a highly effective vaccine. And the reasons vary. Some of them are ideologic. Some of them are politically motivated because if you look across the United States at the under vaccinated states and the states that are very well vaccinated, it goes along party lines. I mean, the red states, the Republicans are much less vaccinated than the blue states, which are democratic, which doesn't make any sense. There's no room for letting ideological differences impact the public health response." 

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Get vaccinated. And "Booster eligibility can still be confusing," tweeted virus expert Ashish Jha. "So here's my guide to help you decide whether you should get a booster 6 months after your 2nd shot: Are you an adult? If yes, get a booster." "It's very clear that the third shot of the mRNA vaccine is really important in enhancing not only the immunological response but also the clinical benefit that one gets at all age groups from the booster," Dr. Fauci has said. 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.

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