Health : Is swimming in the pool during the coronavirus epidemic safe?
COVID-19 is said to be able to survive in water for a few days and potentially even weeks. But there is a big ‘but’ that will appeal to anyone who wants to go swimming this summer, but don’t know if it’s safe. Just because the virus can survive in water for a few days does not necessarily mean that it is present in amounts large enough to infect you.
Is going to the pool a good idea for this summer?
So can we go swimming without being worried about a possible infection? In reality scientific studies have suggested that SARS-CoV2 can actually stay on wet surfaces for a period of time. For example, a scientific study published in the journal ‘Water Research’ in 2009 found that two viruses which have similarities to the origin of the SARS virus, to transmissible gastroenteritis and to mouse hepatitis, can survive for days. and even weeks in the water. The team from the University of North Carolina who performed the study concluded that the coronavirus can remain infectious for long periods of time in water and in pasteurized settled wastewater, suggesting that the water contaminated is a potential vehicle for human exposure if aerosols are generated.
It seems that it is not the water of the swimming pools or the sea that can infect us
Then there was a scientific study on fecal matter published on April 17 at mesRxiv. For this study, the team sampled wastewater in the largest area of Paris for more than a month. The science team found that the concentration of SARS-CoV2 correlated with the number of COVID-19 cases in the region during this time. In other words, when COVID-19 cases increased, the concentration of SARS-CoV2 in wastewater also increased. And this is another reason why splashing the wastewater or breathing deeply near the wastewater is probably not a good idea.
Precautions will need to be taken this summer before going to the pool or the beach
But this second study has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. This means that real scientific experts did not have the chance to review this study for its quality or precision. So there is no real guarantee that this scientific study will never be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Regardless, the results of the two scientific studies suggest that the virus can survive for a period of time in water, which initially means that you can become infected if you ever decide to go to the swimming pool and this swimming pool is either infected. But there is still a big ‘but’ here too. Neither of these two scientific studies suggests that you can become infected with COVID-19 from water under the conditions that you would normally be exposed to water. That is, by drinking water, showering or swimming unless you do so in waste water or dirty water.
By the way, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 has never been found in drinkable water. And the US Environmental Protection Agency says the risk of drinking water is very low and that Americans can continue to use tap water as usual. Such a virus has to pass through all the filtration and treatment that the water is transmitted to and it can be very difficult for the virus to survive in such conditions.
On top of that, the most important fact about water is that it is good water. And water has the ability to dissolve certain things. Even if COVID-19 can survive filtration and treatment of drinking water, it may not be in such concentrations to infect you. Each virus needs a minimum infectious dose present to be able to infect. And even if it is not completely clear yet what is the minimum infectious dose for COVID-19, dilution makes it less likely that what comes to you from water can exceed this threshold.
The same probably applies to water in swimming pools and hot tubs. There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread through water in swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, or in aquatic play areas. In these places, water will not only dilute the virus, but disinfection with chlorine and bromine will likely deactivate the virus.
And if you really want to go to the pool and have a swim, then make sure that the water is well treated. Otherwise, it is not recommended to go to the swimming pool or to use the jacuzzis. Because even if you don’t get Covid-19, there are lots of other germs that can be found in swimming pools that make you sick.
And as far as the seas and oceans are concerned, these are fairly large surfaces and these surfaces are in motion. These two aspects are enough to dilute and separate viruses fairly quickly. Salt in the water can also decrease the virus. But that doesn’t mean you have to hurry to the pool or the beach yet.
When it comes to COVID-19, the riskiest thing in swimming pools, hot tubs, seas and oceans is not the water itself. No, it’s coughing, sneezing, gasping, touching your face that you can’t do next to the water. It is also the things that are often touched like chairs, towels, flip flops and safety gates that are dangerous to contact COVID-19.
So the key once again is to take all the necessary precautions: practice social distancing, wash your hands, disinfect objects and avoid touching your face. And if you see an object like a sign, a statue or a towel for example, avoid touching it. Because you cannot know if he is not infected.
It is also important to wait before the pools and beaches are officially open before going to the pool or the beach. Yes, staying locked up is not easy. But patience in this case is really the best thing to do. Once these places are officially open, there is no need to hurry there. Remember that the virus is still highly circulating and be careful.