As if we weren’t already tired of COVID, there’s now a new variant to worry about. Omicron is spreading faster than other COVID variants and has been detected in 77 countries. LetsGetChecked’s Executive Director of Epidemiology, Dr. Gwen Murphy, Ph.D., MPH told Eat This, Not That! Health: “The primary concern arises from the fact that to date, we have not seen as many genetic changes in a single SARS-CoV-2 variant as we have seen with omicron. Genetic variations of the original strain or the delta strain are to be expected and not necessarily concerning, the problem arises when these genetic variations affect the parts of the virus that are vaccine targets or changes which might allow the vaccine to transmit even more easily or cause more severe disease. These are the questions that scientists are working to answer at the moment.” To learn more about the spread of Omicron, Robert G. Lahita MD, Ph.D. (“Dr. Bob”), Director of the Institute for Autoimmune and Rheumatic Disease at Saint Joseph Health and author of the upcoming book Immunity Strong explained to Eat This, Not That! Health the places people will most likely catch Omicron and where to avoid. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
We all miss gyms, taking in person classes and working out with personal trainers at our favorite spot by this point, but Dr. Bob says, “You’re more likely to catch any variant of COVID in gyms, where masks are not worn while working out. People sweat, scream, and salivate in gyms.”
While it’s healthy to stretch it out, Dr. Bob says, ” If masks aren’t worn in yoga studios, they become a location where it’s likely to catch Covid especially because there are a lot of people sweating and breathing in one place.”
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Cheering on your team is a must, but do it from home or outdoors, says Dr. Bob. “Sporting events are a hot spot because so many people are crammed together in one place, breathing, screaming, and cheering in close proximity.”
Dr. Bob says, “Weddings, especially ones that are held indoors, are a place you’re likely to catch Covid due to so many people in one place talking, breathing, and sometimes screaming / applauding. They become even more dangerous if you’re not wearing masks and are all sharing the same door handles, etc. with no sanitation in between.”
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Stay home and stream, says Dr. Bob. “Movie theaters become a place you’re likely to catch Covid due to their poor ventilation and many people in close proximity for hours at a time. You’re around a lot of people at once in the same room.”
Transport like Airplanes, Buses, Trains, and Subways
Millions of people take public transportation daily and travel, but Dr. Bob warns this is an area where it’s likely to get COVID. “Sanitation isn’t occurring after each touch. You are in the presence of people who you do not know. In effect, you have no idea as to whether they are vaccinated, post-infectious, harboring the virus (without symptoms), or free of infection and biding their luck.”
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How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated 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.