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COVID Experts Warn Don't Go Here Even If It's Open

Epidemiologists rank the places where you’re most likely to contract COVID-19.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
man with face mask back at work in office after lockdown

With COVID-19 deaths on their way to half a million, and a new, more transmissible strain in America, it's more important than ever to avoid getting sick. Researchers from CivicMeter asked epidemiologists—those scientists who study diseases—"on a scale of 1-10, rate the risk of contracting COVID-19 at each venue in the United States." Read on to see which places scored near a 10 for greatest risk—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


Outside Gatherings That Aren't Socially Distanced are Risky

mature friends socializing In backyard

Average rating: 7.38

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has argued that gatherings indoors, or even outdoors, have led to the recent surges. "Avoid congregate settings," he has said repeatedly, about protests or family dinners. Why? Not everyone wears a mask. Not everyone social distances. Not everyone is safe.


Gyms are Risky

woman doing lunges at the gym wearing n95 face mask

Average rating: 7.50

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report showing coronavirus spreads in gyms. "The main way by which people are infected with COVID-19 is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus," reports the CDC. "COVID-19 has been shown to spread at gyms, fitness classes, and studios."


Outdoor Stadiums for Large Events are Risky

Mother with daughter and son among fans at stadium

Average rating: 7.54

"Sports stadiums, when matches are held, and players, coaches, team staff members, and in particular fans gather together…can be considered as hot spots for COVID-19 spread," according to one study. "In an overcrowded stadium, none of the criteria for an effective social distancing are met. Fans are usually sitting and standing within centimeters from each other, hug and kiss each other in joy when their teams score goals, or win a set or the entire game repeatedly. Even when their favorite teams lose a game, they hug each other in grief and disappointment."


Indoor Seating at Restaurants is Risky

waiter in a medical mask serves coffee

Average rating: 7.54

Dr. Fauci won't even enter a restaurant. Indoors, there can be poor ventilation and, naturally, people take their masks off to eat. He orders takeout or delivery. "I feel badly about restaurants losing business," Fauci told CNN. "And I feel it's almost a neighborly obligation to keep neighborhood restaurants afloat…Even though I can cook at home, several nights a week I go out for takeout purely to support those places," he added, and he has since argued for subsidies for these struggling businesses. 


Indoor Theaters/Churches are Risky

Group of prayers in Covid times

Average rating: 8.15

"Millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life," says the CDC. " For many faith traditions, gathering together for worship is at the heart of what it means to be a community of faith. But as Americans are now aware, gatherings present a risk for increasing spread of COVID-19 during this Public Health Emergency."


Nursing Homes are Risky

Family of elderly,senior woman,child girl are talking by maintain distancing,prevent infection of flu,Coronavirus,pandemic of Covid-19,people with prevention mask,maintain social distance for safety

Average rating: 8.73

Since nursing homes have the most vulnerable of populations, they are thus risky to enter—for you and Grandma. Of course, this depends on the restrictions in place. "The experts cautioned that truly weighing the risk of different locations depends on a variety of factors, including the prevalence of infection in the area, the state and local guidelines and whether they're being followed, as well as accommodations being made by individual businesses," reports CivicMeter.

RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID, Say Doctors


Bars are the Most Risky

Friends in the Pub

Average rating: 8.85

Tied only with "jails/prisons" as the riskiest place for coronavirus, bars are dangerous for several reasons. "Bars have become notorious as sources of COVID spread," Professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center told CivicMeter. "They are almost always indoors. People are there for prolonged periods of time, very close together, they're unmasked because they're drinking and talking. And that's the sine qua non for spread of a respiratory virus." Put another way: "Avoid them," says Dr. Fauci. So avoid them, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of the places on this full list of the 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more