The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an invisible problem affecting the whole world. While not everyone may be taking the virus seriously, it is extremely contagious and dangerous. Because of this, you must continue to take preventative measures to avoid infecting yourself or others. To do this, you’ll need to understand what situations increase your risk of transmitting the disease. In particular, clusters of people are vulnerable to coronavirus. Any scenario that involves several people grouped into a confined space is an ideal scenario for COVID-19 transmission.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always obvious what locations might endanger you. Especially as others neglect the severity of the virus, figuring out which risky areas to avoid can be a challenge. To help you understand exactly where you should be concerned, we’ll explain five of the most common coronavirus transmission hotspots below.
One particularly troublesome location for COVID-19 transmission is in grocery stores. Think about the layout of most grocery stores. Often, produce and meat are found in a fairly open area. However, other items like canned goods and boxed food are usually kept in aisles. The difference in storage is significant because aisles are usually quite narrow. At most, you can fit two people with a cart going in opposite directions. With this in mind, the layout of grocery store aisles is conducive to transmitting COVID-19. You’re often forced into confined spaces with other shoppers, often with no room to navigate out of.
As you may be aware, many other shoppers are not concerned with maintaining a 6-feet distance at all times and will freely enter your space. This constant and close proximity is dangerous, especially if prolonged. The biggest problem with grocery stores is that they are pretty much the sole business that everyone needs. Nobody can survive without food and even farmers often aren’t sole-sufficient. Because of this, people will always flock to the grocery store. The sheer volume of people, lack of social distancing respect, and confined space make this a hotspot for coronavirus infection. Try to grocery shop infrequently and stock up for a few weeks when you go. Remember to wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from others.
Your workplace is another risky location that can get you or your coworkers sick. Depending on what you do for your work, you may or not be at your office. If you’re deemed an essential worker, you may not have much of a choice. On the other hand, some non-essential business work offices are overlooking the need to isolate. Picture a business like a marketing firm, which the world would survive without. In these situations, the best option is to have employees work from home. Many businesses are doing this as the socially responsible alternative to having employees physically show up. This also allows them to continue earning a paycheck despite the challenges of coronavirus. For the businesses that do require their employees to show up in person, whether because they’re essential or just don’t care about the virus, the workplace is a danger zone.
The perfect example of this is someone who works as a nurse or doctor in a hospital. The position doesn’t get any more essential, but it also means they’ll be directly working with patients and constantly in close contact with others. Even for an essential worker that isn’t a physician, being in a confined area with others is at play. Because of this, the workplace is another likely location for COVID-19 transmission. See if your boss will let your work from home if possible. Alternatively, try to work in an area away from others.
Another source of coronavirus infection includes public transportation. An underlying theme for the two causes mentioned above is being in close contact with others. This is arguably the easiest way to spread the virus. When you think about public transportation, you’re always around other people. Imagine riding the bus to work. If you commute during a busy hour, it’s likely packed and there’s rarely room to move, let alone social distance.
While things have probably changed as a result of COVID-19, public transportation is still poorly designed to accommodate social distancing. Seats are far too close together, breathing space is shared, and you never know if the people around you are sick. No form of public transportation is currently safe. Try to avoid it if you can. If you can’t, make sure to sit away from others, don’t touch anything, and quickly wash your hands after departing.
Social gatherings are another likely cause of COVID-19 spreading. For a short while, gatherings were banned in most states. This led to a decrease in coronavirus cases, which is certainly good news. However, this has come with a negative side effect of making people believe that the pandemic is over, not serious, or irrelevant. Furthermore, many states have lifted restrictions on gathering. These two factors have made many people freely gather with friends, family, and acquaintances. It’s certainly understandable to desire social interaction after a long drought, but it is still not yet safe to do so!
Again, close contact is the issue here. Especially when you’re with people you are familiar with and like, you’re more likely to be physically closer to or touch them. Remember that close contact is one of the easiest ways to spread the virus. Keep any social interaction to virtual alternatives to minimize the risk of getting sick!
Lastly, unknown sources of infection are often attributed to community spread. While the four causes above are the likeliest reason for many COVID-19 cases, it is always difficult to pinpoint exactly where an infection originated from. You likely don’t keep a thorough record of everywhere you’ve been and everyone you’ve seen. It’s also easy to overlook a seemingly insignificant event like a random sneeze that might have been the cause. For any situation in which you cannot determine where your illness came from, it can be chalked up to community spread. This is when an entire area experiences an outbreak of cases at once.
When community spread occurs, several people are sick and may not know it. As a result, it can quickly spread to others in the community. Confirmed cases directly increase your chances of infection as you do not know who may be sick. If you know of any coronavirus cases in your local area, you must stay at home!
COVID-19 is affecting millions of people and it is unclear when it will stop. The virus is highly contagious and spreads quickly. Because of this, limiting its spread is a priority that requires the joint effort of everyone. You can start by exercising caution around areas that increase the risk of transmission. This includes grocery stores, your workplace, public transportation, and social gatherings. Also, watch out for local cases to limit community spread. While coronavirus is certainly inconvenient, you must respect it. Your well-being and the safety of the people you know and love is at stake!