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You're Most Likely to Catch COVID Here, Say Experts

Use caution before entering here.

As the holiday season approaches, COVID cases continue to drop in most parts of the country. But no one knows what this winter will bring as indoor gatherings become more frequent. Experts agree that it's still important to exercise caution about COVID exposure, even if you've been vaccinated. Here's where you're most likely to catch COVID now. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.


Going Here Is Still Dangerous

Music festival crowd excitement

"Going to an event indoors has much more risk, in the likelihood of getting infected," said Dr. Christine Petersen, the director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, in an interview with CBSN in late October. "Dilution is the solution: When you're in an outdoor environment, there's a lot more fresh air."


When to Avoid Indoor Optional Activities

Woman in a restaurant with face protection mask kn95.

When should you definitely think about giving indoor leisure activities a pass? "It depends on the prevalence of COVID in the local community," says Karen Jubanyik, MD, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and author of Beat the Coronavirus. "Where COVID is prevalent, I would avoid indoor, optional activities. It also depends on the vaccination rate in that community, as well as the mask rules/adherence rates."


How to Stay As Safe As Possible Indoors

Mature woman enjoying music concert.

The CDC still officially recommends that people wear a mask when indoors in public places, whether you're vaccinated or not. Dr. Ken Burns, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Louisville, offered advice to people who want to attend indoor events: "With standing-room-only crowds, you may want to actually not be standing-room-only," he said. "Try to maintain distance. I would recommend that even if you're fully vaccinated, for an indoor venue, that you should wear a mask."


What the CDC Says

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Georgia, Atlanta

The CDC's official guidance on indoor and outdoor activities is that outdoors is safer than indoors: You're more likely to be exposed to COVID when you attend crowded, poorly ventilated indoor events versus attending an outdoor event or practice social distancing of at least six feet. Additionally, the agency's advice includes:

  • Wear a mask consistently over your nose and mouth
  • If you're fully vaccinated, wear a mask indoors in public if you're in an area of substantial or high transmission
  • In general, you don't need to wear a mask in outdoor settings. But consider wearing a mask at crowded outdoor events in areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases
  • Avoid crowds and places that are poorly ventilated or crowded
  • Wash your hands


How to Stay Safe Out There

Woman working textile factory during the COVID-19 pandemic and fixing her facemask

Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated 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.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more