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Infectious Disease Doctors Warn You Don't Go Here Even if It's Open

Avoid these certain COVID-19 hotspots.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
woman in protective mask opens the door

When it comes to COVID-19 exposure, some places are riskier than others. A group of infectious-disease doctors with the Texas Medical Association were asked to rank a variety of activities from 1 to 9, with 9 being the most dangerous in terms of COVID transmission. These are four of the places that earned that top ranking. If they're open near you, it's worth steering clear. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

1

Concerts

Indoor concerts are mostly shut down at the moment—and even the outdoor Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals just announced they're postponing their dates until at least the fall—and it's easy to see why: Any place where people are crowded together, talking and possibly singing along is a potential COVID hotspot. 

2

Sports Stadium

carolina hurricanes hockey stadium
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Another place where crowds naturally assemble, sports stadiums are a major COVID risk. In May 2020, scientists in Thailand warned that 27 of the country's first 177 coronavirus cases were linked to one event at a stadium. Many pro teams have kicked off their season with reduced seating; if you choose to attend, wear a mask and make sure you stay six feet away from anyone who doesn't live in your household.

3

Large Religious Service

A young couple in face masks praying in a church during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The doctors cited religious services with more than 500 attendees a level-9 risk. That's because attendees are often in close proximity indoors, speaking, singing and shaking hands—all common modes of transmission for the respiratory droplets that spread COVID. To be safe, attend services virtually for now. 

4

Bar

People singing in karaoke bar
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No less than Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, has been imploring Americans to stay out of bars since this summer, when pub reopenings led to a surge of COVID cases in their nearby communities. Bars are often crowded, with people talking closely, and as the booze flows, COVID precautions like social distancing are easily forgotten. Fauci said it plain during a Senate hearing in August: "Bars: really not good, really not good. We really have got to stop that." 

5

How to Survive This Pandemic

Woman wearing face mask on a busy street.
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As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.