COVID cases are on the rise in the US and across the world, and some people are catching the virus more than once. "The pandemic is accelerating again, despite the warm weather," says Dr Benjamin Davido, an infectious diseases specialist at the Raymond-Poincaré hospital outside Paris, France. "The new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 are 10% to 15% more infectious and it's this that is giving the virus an added kick." Here are five places you're most likely to get reinfected with COVID-19, according to experts. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss Already Had COVID? These Symptoms May "Never Go Away".
Indoor gyms are still incredibly risky when it comes to catching COVID-19: One study showed that the amount of particles exhaled during an indoor workout went from 500 particles a minute at rest to a whopping 76,000 particles a minute during exercise, essentially making group classes potential superspreader events. "The study provides mechanistic data to back up the assumption that exercising indoors is a higher-risk activity when it comes to transmission of COVID-19," says virus expert Linsey Marr, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech.
Bars are still high-risk virus hotspots, experts warn. "Like many infectious diseases, the principal mode of transmission for COVID-19 is direct respiration of droplets emitted during close social contact, and health officials warn that alcohol consumption may lead to decreased adherence to physical distancing guidelines," according to research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Results indicated that alcohol caused individuals to draw significantly closer to an unfamiliar interaction partner during social exchange, reducing physical proximity at a rate with potentially important implications for public health."
Proper ventilation is key to making offices safe for workers, experts say. "The science is airtight," says Joseph Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings program at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "The evidence is overwhelming… In the first year of the pandemic, it felt like we were the only ones talking about ventilation, and it was falling on deaf ears. But there are definitely, without a doubt, many companies that have taken airborne spread seriously. It's no longer just a handful of people."
Nursing and Retirement Homes
"COVID-19 is still a threat to nursing home residents and staff, particularly given the rise of the recent Omicron variant," says the AARP. "Hundreds of residents continue to die from the virus each month, so some infection control practices remain, such as face coverings and physical distancing."
Crowded Indoor Events
With mask restrictions lifted and vaccinations not being checked, it's impossible to know if the people around you might be infected or not. "This is the moment where you should expect that if you're out and about, doing indoor activities, going to restaurants and concerts without a high-quality, good-fitting mask, you should expect that if you didn't have Omicron in the first wave, that you're going to catch COVID," says Megan Ranney, MD, MPH, an emergency medicine physician and academic dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University in Rhode Island.
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, 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.