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Don't Enter Here During Omicron Surge, Say Experts

Infectious disease specialist explains common places to catch COVID.

Omicron, a new strain of COVID-19, was discovered less than two months ago, but is already causing chaos and disruption across the world. CNN reports COVID cases are up in India, 1 in 15 people in England tested positive in the week ending Dec. 31, 2021, Germany is seeing an uptick in cases and the highly contagious variant spread so quickly that the U.S. set a global record of 1 million new COVID cases reported in a single day. It's caused some schools to go virtual learning again and hospitalization rates are up in certain areas. It's important more than ever to take precautions and stay informed. Eat This, Not That! Health talked with infectious disease specialist Dr. Javeed Siddiqui MD/MPH, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at TeleMed2U who explained where the hotspots are for COVID and places you're most likely going to catch 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.


Mass Gatherings

According to Dr. Siddiqui, "As SARS coronavirus two is a respiratory pathogen that is transmitted from respiratory secretions that are expectorated through coughing, sneezing as well as speaking. In addition touching infected inanimate objects and then touching your mouth, nose, eyes, and face can also cause transmission. Given these modes of transmission environments that are likely to expose you to this virus are gatherings with individuals who are currently infected. Mass gatherings increase the probability of being exposed to the virus."

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Indoor Spaces Increase Your Risk, Especially With Improper Mask Use

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

Dr. Siddiqui says, "Avoiding wearing masks or wearing masks that are loose fitting and not covering the nose and mouth will increase your risk of exposure. Being in confined places with individuals that are not wearing masks such as elevators, conference rooms and institutionalized settings. Also, indoor settings such as restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, bars, hotels and other theaters can increase the likelihood of exposure."



Woman with luggage stands at almost empty check-in counters at the airport terminal due to coronavirus pandemic/Covid-19 outbreak travel restrictions.

"Airports and airplanes can also increase risk of exposure for multiple reasons such as crowds, being in close proximity to one another," Dr. Siddiqui explains. In addition, the airplane itself can be an confined area with close proximity and limited air exchange that can increase the likelihood of exposure to the COVID-19 virus."

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Tired business woman watching tv in hotel room

Dr. Siddiqui states, "Hotels can result in exposure in multiple ways such as crowded lobbies and restaurants close quarters in elevators and rooms that may not be completely sanitized or appropriately sanitized. Specifically high touch areas such as door handles, TV remotes and telephones. Any settings where there can be exposure to respiratory secretions through talking sneezing and coughing will increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19."


Why Getting Vaccinated is Essential

Nurse gives students a vaccination in school during coronavirus pandemic

"Lack of vaccination can play a significant role in increasing your risk of infection as well as complications secondary to infection. Please get vaccinated," Dr. Siddiqui reminds us.

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How to Stay Safe Out There


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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