The 7 Places COVID-19 Is Most Commonly Spread

The Doctors

The locations where you are more likely to be exposed to COVID -19 might seem obvious -- crowded indoor areas with people from outside of your household -- but some of the most common locales might be surprising and alarming.

HuffPo spoke to medical experts and contract tracers to determine the 7 areas where the virus is currently being spread the most, which include: 

In the home: If someone in a home is sick with the virus, one study found there is an 18 percent chance the other people in the home will also become infected. Home infections also commonly occur when visiting the homes of extended family and are common with multi-generational households, homes where many people reside, or in hoouses where self-isolating if sick is not possible.

Social gatherings and meetups: The experts say infections have been traced to large and small groups and both indoor and outdoor meetups. A smaller group means less chance of an infection, but if case numbers are high in your area, there is still a potential risk even if the group is small. 

Restaurants and bars: Many studies have found that those who dine out have a higher chance of becoming infected. The risk is lower when dining outdoors, but the risk increases based on the number of people present, and if the outdoor area is tented and if there are many groups of people eating, drinking, and speaking without masks.

Gyms and fitness centers: According to one study, gyms are the second most likely location for transmission just behind restaurants. The experts point to gyms being indoor, improper mask use, and people breathing heavy and possibly expelling droplets into the air.

Religious services and gatherings: Contract tracers in Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. have found attending religious services -- which are often indoor, not socially distanced, and involve singing -- rank high for potentially spreading COVID, especially due to the fact that it brings many groups of households together in one space for extended periods of time.

Work: If distancing is not possible at a workplace, or if safety protocols are not being followed, going to work can possibly lead to infection. Also, asymptomatic people who go to work can easily spread the virus unknowingly.

Stores: Contract tracers tell HuffPo they have identified numerous cases where people who work from home, do not interact with others outside of their household, and limit their time in stores have still contracted the virus. They believe it has been linked to their limited time shopping. Though thought to be less risky than other locales listed, shopping does pose a level of risk.

The experts stress to always wear a mask, limit your time at indoors locations (when not your own home), wash your hands when you get home, and if you are interacting with others do it outside and make sure it is socially distanced.

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