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80% of COVID Transmissions Happen Here, Says Study

Avoid these five places to stay safe.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Woman with face protective mask

In the last year we have continued to gain a more thorough understanding of COVID-19, including how it spreads. One of the primary tools we have against the virus is simply avoiding high risk places where the chance of transmission is much greater. So, what are these places? A study published in the journal Nature identified five key "superspreader" places where 80 percent of transmissions occur. Read on to find out where you are most likely to catch COVID—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


Restaurants and Cafes

Hispanic young woman having drink in cafe during coronavirus outbreak

Whether you are sipping on a cup of coffee and reading a book, or enjoying a dinner or lunch with family and friends, research has found that spending time inside of a restaurant or cafe is risky. In fact, one September study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans who tested positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to report having dined at a restaurant within the last 14 days.



Group of people doing fitness in a gym wearing a mask, coronavirus concept

While exercise is a crucial component to overall health, doing so in a group setting can majorly compromise it. "The main way by which people are infected with COVID-19 is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus," says the CDC. "COVID-19 has been shown to spread at gyms, fitness classes, and studios." If you do choose to visit one, they offer a number of suggestions on how to minimize exposure, including wiping down all equipment before and after use, wearing a mask, and visiting the gym during off hours. 



Tired business woman watching tv in hotel room

Hotels and other similar lodging establishments often host people from various parts of the state or country. "Stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Spending time with people you live with is safer than doing things and spending time with people not from your household. If you must travel overnight, check your accommodations' COVID-19 prevention practices before you go," urges the CDC, who note that "hotels or multi-unit guest lodgings (e.g., bed and breakfasts)" are considered one of the riskier types of lodging situations. 



Portrait of a happy waitress working at a restaurant wearing a facemask.

Since the start of the pandemic, health experts have consistently warned that bars are the riskiest places for COVID spread. Why? When you are enjoying drinks with friends and strangers, you likely aren't wearing a mask or social distancing. Need proof? A number of large outbreaks have been linked to bars. "Avoid bars," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


Places of Worship

A young couple in face masks praying in a church during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A number of major outbreaks have been tied to places of worship, such as churches and synagogues. For this reason, the CDC has devoted an entire page to offering guidance for Communities of Faith, urging such measures as mask wearing, social distancing, avoiding communal items, and holding services outdoors. 

RELATED: If You Feel This, You May Have Already Had COVID, Says Dr. Fauci


How to Avoid COVID-19

girl wear medical face mask on sunny city street

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.