These Are the Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus, Doctors Say

Doctors ranked places on a one-to-ten scale to determine which were the riskiest. These were at the top.

Officials around the country are trying to reign in the surging coronavirus cases that followed the reopening of businesses in the past month or so. But the rising numbers have given medical experts insight into what activities and places are the most dangerous during the COVID-19 pandemic. Want to know how your favorite venues stack up in terms of risk factor? A recently released survey from the Texas Medical Association's COVID-19 Task Force and Committee on Infectious Diseases had physicians rank 37 places and activities on how likely they are to result in COVID transmission on a scale of 1 to 10. Before you head out the door, familiarize yourself with these places that earned an 8 or 9 on the riskiness scale. Unless you want to catch coronavirus, stay away from these spots. And for more things to avoid, check out Most COVID-19 Patients Did This One Thing Before Getting Sick, Study Finds.


cruise buffet tarts on display

Dining from the sneeze-guarded lineups of hot trays may have always been slightly dubious health-wise. But now, doctors say piling your plate from a buffet during the pandemic is wildly risky due to potential viral contamination. And for more on why dining out is more dangerous these days, check out This Is Why Coronavirus Is Skyrocketing in the South, Harvard Doctor Says.

Working out at the gym

man and woman use treadmills at a gym with masks on

Pumping iron or hitting a spin class may have been the best way to stay in shape before coronavirus hit. However, doctors now say that the close quarters, multiple contamination touch points, and increased heavy breathing of nearby patrons make gyms a health risk these days.

Going to an amusement park

a girl on the swings at an amusement park

Despite what the governor of Florida may say, doctors do not agree that going to an amusement park is a safe activity right now, thanks to the long lines, tight space on rides, and the crowds of people that gather inside them. And for more on where you shouldn't be headed right now, check out The Riskiest Places You're Going—Ranked by Doctors.

Going to a movie theater

Group of people watching movie in the cinema after Coronavirus loosening measures.

Even after AMC did an about-face on mandatory face masks for guests, doctors are still dubious about heading out to the cinema to catch a movie, due to the close quarters and air conditioning systems that can spread the virus within the closed space. "I would honestly say I'm not comfortable going to the movies right now," Carlos Del Rio, MD, an infectious diseases specialist in Atlanta, told CNBC. "Right now, the only place I am comfortable going to the movies is my living room."

Attending a crowded concert

Crowd partying at a music gig

If the cancellation or postponement of the country's biggest festivals wasn't already a sign, take it from the doctors: Crowding a live theater or concert venue to watch your favorite artist perform is simply too dangerous right now. And for more on when you can rock out in public again, check out When Experts Say It'll Be Safe to Go to a Concert.

Going to a crowded sports stadium

University of Nebraska Huskers Memorial Stadium facts 2018

This place might be the easiest to avoid, if only because all major sports leagues are still on hiatus or playing without spectators on account of coronavirus. But as professional sports leagues attempt to start back up again, doctors still advise that heading out to the big game is a major health risk with all that spit-inducing screaming and those crowded seating arrangements. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Attending a large religious service

Congregation at church praying

Besides congregating in large numbers, places of worship elevate the risk of catching COVID-19 for another reason: singing. California even went so far as to ban the practice from religious gatherings across the state. But doctors agree that unless you're keeping your group small and taking it outdoors, it's one of the most likely places where you're likely to catch coronavirus (especially if there are over 500 worshippers joining you). And for more on the dangers of gathering to pray, check out This One Thing Makes Churches and Bars Equally as High Risk for Coronavirus.

Going to a bar

Friends drink and laugh at bar

Heading out to your favorite local watering hole may have been your social outing of choice pre-pandemic. But any place that requires gathering indoors with large groups in close proximity, shouting over loud music, breathing recycled air, and not wearing a face mask—since it's impossible to sip your drink with one on—is at the top of most doctors' lists of places you're likely to catch coronavirus for a reason.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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