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5 Places You'll Most Likely Catch COVID, Says Dr. Fauci

Don’t want COVID? Don’t go here.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

With BA.5 causing a new surge in the US, health officials are warning the public to avoid past mistakes and complacency. "We know now, two and a half years later, that anywhere from 50 to 60 percent of the transmission occur from someone without symptoms, either someone who never will get symptoms or someone who is in the pre-symptomatic stage," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Had we known that then, the insidious nature of spread in the community would have been much more of an alarm and there would have been much, much more stringent restrictions in the sense of very, very heavy, encouraging people to wear masks, physical distancing or what have you." Here are the five places you are still most likely to catch COVID-19, according to Dr. Fauci. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Indoor Restaurants

young friends eating together at restaurant
Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

Indoor restaurants are a high-risk area for getting infected, especially if people are not wearing masks. "When you have restaurants indoors in a situation where you have a high degree of infection in the community [and] you're not wearing masks, that's a problem," says Dr. Fauci. "Bars are a really important place of spreading infection, there's no doubt about that. [These risks] become particularly important if you happen to be in an area where there's a high degree of community spread. And that's the reason why we are very, very clear when we make a recommendation depending upon the level of infection in the community."

2

Bars

group of friends eating a fancy meal together
Shutterstock / Kzenon

Bars are high-risk indoor areas, with people letting their guard down while drinking alcohol. "Bars are a really important place of spreading infection, there's no doubt about that," says Dr. Fauci. "[These risks] become particularly important if you happen to be in an area where there's a high degree of community spread. And that's the reason why we are very, very clear when we make a recommendation depending upon the level of infection in the community."

3

Gyms

woman sitting with dumbbell at gym
Shutterstock

"I wouldn't go to a gym," says Dr. Fauci. "I need to be so careful. I don't want to take a chance. I have a pool at home, so I swim in that… I was running until about a year ago, but every time I went running, my back would tighten up the next morning. So now I walk the same distance. It just takes longer."

4

Crowded Grocery Stores

young woman buying lots of fruit
Shutterstock / Aleksandar Malivuk

Dr. Fauci has spoken of how cautious he is in grocery stores. "I do physically go to the grocery store, but I wear a mask and keep my distance," he says. "I usually go at odd times. I spend half the day alone in my office, and I'm part-time at the White House. In the late afternoon or evening, when I'm finished with the White House, I go shopping for groceries, or to drugstores. I don't disinfect the bags. In general, I will take the materials out of the bags, then wash my hands with soap and water, and then use Purell, and let everything sit for a day."

5

Hair Salons

Beautiful afro women posing with scissor
Shutterstock

Hair salons and spas are high-risk spots for COVID-19 as social distancing is difficult (if not impossible) while getting a haircut, massage, or manicure. "I usually get [my hair] cut every five weeks, but I didn't go for a long while," says Dr. Fauci. "By the 11th week, it was looking really bad. So I asked the woman who cuts my hair if I could come in really early in the morning, at 7 a.m., and we arranged to do that. No one else was there. She wore a mask and I wore a mask." 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.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more