The summer continues to provide new challenges for the COVID-19 outbreak. Are pools and lakes safe to visit?
Summer is finally here, meaning that thousands of people are desperate to get some sun. This warm weather yearning is made even worse after experiencing months of social distancing guidelines, which seem to have eliminated beach and pool trips for the time being. But, if you’re steering clear from other people and are being careful, how safe is it to swim in a lake, pool or ocean?
One of the positive things that scientists have discovered about the coronavirus is that people are much less likely to catch it when they’re in an open and outdoor space. Although there’s always a risk when you leave a controlled space (like your house), the fact that you’re in a pool, lake or an ocean doesn’t change much for experts, no matter the angle you wish to focus on.
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In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Ebb Lautenbach from the University of Pennsylvania said that people should worry about other people, not about water and it’s capacity to shuffle germs around. “There’s nothing inherent about ocean water or especially pool water that is risky. The bug isn’t transmitted via a waterborne route,” says Dr. Ebb Lautenbach. “Chlorine and bromine that are in pools inactivate the virus and makes it even lower risk in terms of catching it from the water.”
USC professor Paula Cannon shares these beliefs, explaining that lakes and beaches don’t pose a risk due to dilution. “You’d have to probably drink the entire lake to get an infectious dose of the coronavirus,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
The main issues with beaches, public pools and popular lakes is that most of these spaces get crowded when there’s warm weather, offering less space than public parks and other outdoor sports where people gather. Cluttered spaces and water also make it harder for you to wear the appropriate masks and face coverings and to stay 6-feet away from others.
Social distancing remains the same, whether you’re in a pool, lake or the ocean. If you visit a beach or your local pool during off hours, there should be no issues provided you’re careful, you wipe nearby surfaces and you stay 6-feet apart from others.