Almost All COVID Transmission Is Happening in These 5 Places, Doctor Says

These spots are responsible for the nationwide spike in COVID cases.

As the U.S. continues to report record-breaking COVID numbers, medical experts are trying desperately to appeal to Americans to stay away from high-risk locations and adhere to coronavirus precautions. Some areas, like Los Angeles, have even implemented new stay-at-home orders in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. However, CNN's chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, MD, says not everything has to shut down because the majority of COVID transmission happens in just five places.

While Gupta was on CNN's New Day on Dec. 3, he said, "It's really these five primary locations where 80 percent of viral transmissions are happening in our society." According to Gupta, full stay-at-home orders are likely not necessary if we target the five spots. "Much of society can still stay open and still function as long as people wear masks and things like that, it doesn't need to go into a complete lockdown," he explained.

Gupta feels that we would see a drop in COVID cases if "we actually started to employ mask mandates and talk about those five locations." Keep reading to find out which places Gupta has concerns about, and to make sure you're staying safe, This Type of Face Mask Isn't Protecting You From COVID, WHO Warns.


Four young women sitting in restaurant, wearing face mask on chin.

With temperatures plummeting in many parts of the U.S., more diners have been eating indoors at restaurants, which can make this spot riskier than it already was. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published on Sept. 11 found that "adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results." And if you do choose to dine out, This Is the Worst Place to Sit at a Restaurant Right Now, Study Finds.


Cheerful young couple laughing while conversing on sofa at nightclub

Bars are risky for a slew of reasons, including that drinking can lower your inhibitions, causing you to be less mindful of precautions like wearing a mask and social distancing. "It is probably the worst thing you can do during the COVID epidemic," Durland Fish, PhD, told Healthline. "How can you meet someone six feet away, and how can you drink wearing a mask? Bars are also noisy, especially if there is a band or music and everyone has to shout at close range to communicate, spewing aerosolized virus particles." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.


young man working on a laptop at a coffee shop

People tend to get pretty cozy in coffee shops. If you walk into any cafe, you're likely to see a couple of people—on laptops or reading—who have been there for hours. The sheer amount of time spent in a cafe makes it a risky place to be. The CDC study grouped cafes in with bars and found that 8.5 percent of people who tested positive for COVID had visited these places.


Hotel room with water as a welcome gift

The CDC says traveling "increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19." The institute outlined how risky various lodging styles are to stay in during COVID. They ranked staying in a hotel as very risky, second only to staying in a hostel or dormitory-style dwelling. And if you'll be in a hotel in the near future, discover 7 Danger Zones in Hotels You Need to Avoid, According to Experts.

Houses of worship

Pews in a church

Houses of worship that allow large groups of people to gather pose a significant threat, especially those where visitors sing, thereby expelling more viral particles. The CDC study found that 7.8 percent of people who tested positive for COVID had been to a house of worship. And for more on the future of the pandemic, The CDC Just Voted That These People Should Get the COVID Vaccine First.

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