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5 Ways You're Most Likely to Catch COVID

Infectious disease specialist explains the top ways people can catch COVID.

COVID cases are surging again across the U.S., which is causing disruption for schools and people returning to work after the holidays; the world is reporting nearly 1.5 million new cases every day, two times as many per day as were recorded just last week. How can you possibly stay safe? There are precautions we can take to help prevent catching the virus and Eat This, Not That! Health talked to infectious diseases specialist Dr. Javeed Siddiqui MD/MPH, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at TeleMed2U who explained the common ways people are catching COVID and what to do to avoid getting the virus. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


COVID-19 is a Respiratory Virus. So Don't Share Your Air.

crowded bar seats

Dr. Siddiqui says, "As we enter the third year of this pandemic the epidemiology of the virus has not changed from day one. This is a respiratory virus that continues to increase its ability to infect people through respiratory secretions and contact with mucous membranes with infected secretions." A golden rule is: Don't Share Your Air. If you're indoors with someone, and do not know their vaccination status, wear a mask.


Not Wearing Masks Properly

woman in a medical mask on her face during the pandemic outdoors

"Masks are neither a political statement or a referendum on society and social beliefs; they are an effective and powerful tool in protecting each and everyone of us from exposure to respiratory viruses," Dr. Siddiqui explains. "One of the common mistakes made while wearing a mask is lack of fit. I remind everyone that if the mask does not leave a mark around your nose and mouth after removal, it's likely not fitting well. Masks that have gaps or loose fitting masks compromise their effectiveness. Please wear a mask when you are in public, especially if you're near large groups of people or a mass gathering such as sporting events and concerts."

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Not Getting Vaccinated

Doctor with a syringe of COVID-19 vaccine and a patient's hand refusing.

According to Dr. Siddiqui, "the most significant tool that we possess to decrease not only the risk of infection but to decrease the severity of infection is vaccination. Unfortunately there's a great deal of misinformation surrounding the various vaccines, their efficacy and their side effects. If you have concerns or questions regarding vaccination please speak to a healthcare professional and have an appropriate discussion on the risk benefit ratio of vaccination to your healthcare status. The vaccine was never meant to be 100% preventative and the fact that they are breakthrough infections does not mean the vaccine is not effective. In addition a key aspect of vaccination is to reduce the intensity and decrease the risk of complications from Covid 19 infection."

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Not Using Hand Sanitizer

Woman applying hand sanitizer.

Washing your hands frequently and using hand sanitizer helps protect you from COVID, Dr.  Siddiqui states. "Hand gels and hand based alcohol sprays play an important role in helping fight infection from respiratory viruses. The key is to use them frequently when you believe that your hands have been soiled from respiratory secretions or that you've come in contact with inanimate objects that are used by a number of people such as door handles, remote controls for televisions and telephones. Do use masks plus COVID-19 vaccination plus hand sanitizers. It will play a role in helping protect an individual from infection."

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Not Social Distancing

Two women with black face masks sitting on bench in park

Dr. Siddiqui  says, "Social distancing and wearing masks are among the best public health measures anyone can do in order to decrease the risk of infection."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, "COVID-19 spreads between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets, created when someone talks, coughs or sneezes. Staying away from others helps stop the spread of COVID-19."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Woman getting COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, 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.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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