5 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus

As Canada begins to reopen, experts warn against visiting spots where coronavirus has been most likely to spread.

Asian woman with protective face mask in the urban bridge in city against crowd of peopleThana Prasongsin/Getty Images

Parts of Canada are beginning to reopen—and people are eagerly venturing out after months of being stuck at home. But that doesn’t mean it’s suddenly safe to socialize the way we used to. With cases of COVID-19 still popping up across the country, it’s important to weigh the risk level of the places you plan to visit during the pandemic.

In general, coronavirus is most likely to spread in “indoor environments with limited fresh air flow, where large numbers of people can gather for longer than 10 minutes of interactions, and where it is difficult to maintain physical distancing,” according to Boris Lushniak, MD, dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Health. When planning your future public outings, experts recommend avoiding these everyday places as best as you can.

Bars and restaurants

“Unfortunately, as bars have reopened, we have seen a large number of young people gathering but not necessarily being wary that COVID-19 is still a problem,” Lushniak say, also noting that even bars that limit capacity and space tables six feet apart are high-risk environments.

People gather as they wait in line to get in, most not wearing masks or social distancing. Inside, people spend hours in a small, poorly ventilated space while dancing, standing close together, and shouting over the music. Loud conversations at bars can release up to ten times as many respiratory droplets as a cough, research has found.

At any indoor spot, Dr. Lushniak suggests taking stock of what public health recommendations are being followed. Ask yourself, “Are people wearing masks? Is the six-foot rule being applied? Is it crowded with people?” he says. Best to turn down any gathering that doesn’t abide by expert-approved safeguards.

Beaches

If you’re looking to beat the heat this summer, you might want to skip the beach. While it’s true that beaches allow more airflow than indoor environments and that there’s little evidence that the virus can spread to people through water, experts believe viral particles can still travel from an infected person to others nearby. What’s more, these particles can linger for hours at a time, like beaches and pools, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Although experts say the virus is more likely to spread inside, you should still take precautions when visiting outdoor spaces like beaches. The CDC recommends wearing a mask and avoiding crowded areas where you can’t stay six feet apart from other beachgoers.

Places of worship

Churches and other places of worship incorporate many of the practices that experts believe increase the likelihood of transmission. In addition to spending long periods of time indoors, people are congregating close together, sharing food, and speaking and singing loudly.

Most places of worship are holding remote services, but worshipers attending in person should not be afraid to ask about the property’s cleaning and disinfection protocols, according to Dr. Lushniak. “All this is about your personal and your family’s health,” he says.

Gyms and fitness centres

Experts point to insufficient ventilation, large class sizes, and intensity of the workouts for high infection rates at gyms.

If you decide to visit the gym, prepare to mask up. “These practices show we care about our own health but also the health of those around us,” Dr. Lushniak says. “This is the right thing to do and is part of the weaponry to battle the pandemic.”

Family gatherings

If you are feeling sick or have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days, it’s best to sit out on social gatherings. The CDC also recommends hosting any gathering outdoors or in a well-ventilated space. Spacing tables and chairs six feet apart, planning social distancing-friendly activities, wearing face masks, and frequent handwashing can also help to protect guests from infection.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest

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