Swimming and COVID-19: No risk of infection if you follow guidelines

As the heat goes up during the summer, people will find themselves in need of water bodies. It may be lakes or swimming pools where people usually want to cool off their bodies. Considering this situation, pools are considering a reopening to help people. Currently, there is no evidence that swimming pools or natural water bodies can transmit COVID-19. That doesn’t mean people can have pool parties with people pushing in, scientists warn.

Researchers believe the water in the pool posses minimal risk in transmitting the pathogen. But the risks come from pool ladders, faucets, changing rooms where people might have contact with the virus by sneezing or coughing. That is because we already know that the virus exists on these surfaces for an ample amount of time and can spread the disease to other people.

Chlorine in pools and spas deactivates the coronavirus

The CDC says that there is no evidence of the spread of the virus from pools, spas, bathtubs. This is because chlorine used to disinfect these water bodies, effectively eliminating the virus. While the mechanism of action is unknown, scientist speculates that the chlorine disrupts the outer proteins, thereby inactivating the virus.

Another popular disinfecting agent is the UV lights used in pools. These UV lights directly attack the virus, thereby damaging the genetic material and rapidly eliminating it. Also, such a similarity can be observed with open pools that use natural sunlight that can act as an enemy to the virus. While the effect of the various disinfecting agent against the virus is still yet to figured, scientists say envelope viruses are fragile and can be killed by the most common disinfecting agents.

What about lakes and beaches?

While swimming in waters that contain salt like chlorine is safer, swimming in freshwater may be a different scenario. This is because viruses are known to survive less in seawaters than in freshwater. But we see the water cannot be the actual risk. Rather the people in crowded surroundings can be the actual risk. If the air surrounding the water body contains the virus, people can get it in spite of their location.

Ultimately, it remains in the hands of the individual to swim in the pools or lakes nearby. Researchers caution to follow proper social distancing measures, strict hygienic measures, and taking showers before and after getting in the water. If all the measures are followed, scientists say swimming pools do not possess any risk.

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Source: Inverse

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