Skip to content

The #1 Thing People Did Before Getting COVID

"The number one activity of those who have tested positive continues to be family gatherings."

As authorities scramble to determine the cause of the recent coronavirus outbreaks, their conclusion sounds like part of a horror movie: the killer may have been in the house the whole time. "In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday family gatherings were the number one source of transmission in the state," reports CNN. "Our contact tracing operations continues to show social gatherings remain the most likely source of transmissions," the governor said. "The number one activity of those who have tested positive continues to be family gatherings, followed by house parties." Read on to see if you're at risk, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

What is the #1 Thing People Do Before Getting COVID?

Hogan's comments come just a week before one big communal holiday—in which kids are expected to go trick or treating on Halloween—and a month before Thanksgiving. Experts worry that students returning from college, and adults travelling around the country, will catch the disease, bring it home and infect their families, leading to mass infections and rampant spread. They are urging you to celebrate with the people you're sheltering with, to protect your grandparents, and yourself.

"That is, unfortunately, a risk, when you have people coming from out of town, gathering together in an indoor setting," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, told CBS News. "It is unfortunate because that's such a sacred part of American tradition—the family gathering around Thanksgiving. But that is a risk," Fauci said.

It's a risk that's already playing itself out across the country. Besides Hogan in Maryland, Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey issued a similar hypothesis, as his state's cases rise again. "While these numbers are a far cry from where we were at our spring peaks, they are also significantly higher than where we were for much of the summer and until just a few weeks ago," Murphy said at a media briefing Monday. "The capacities that we believe are contributing to the bulk of the (new) cases are those gatherings that are beyond our ability to regulate and properly enforce," he said.

The CDC Lists the Low, Medium and High-Risk Behaviors For Upcoming Gatherings 

"Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together. Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved," reports the CDC:

"Lower risk activities

  • Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household
  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn't involve contact with others
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home

Moderate risk activities

  • Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place

Higher risk activities

Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
  • Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
  • Attending crowded parades
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household."

How you can avoid COVID-19

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Avoid family gatherings for a while longer, wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek