The Jakarta Post
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated there was no evidence that suggested the virus that causes COVID-19 could spread through bodies of water. (Shutterstock/StacieStauffSmith Photos)
With summer fast approaching, many people hope to jump into pools, oceans and lakes to beat the heat, despite the fact that we are still in the middle of a pandemic. But does going for a swim increase the risk of contracting the coronavirus?
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated there was no evidence that suggested the virus that causes COVID-19 could spread through bodies of water. The CDC also added that chlorine or bromine disinfection in pools and hot tubs should inactivate the virus.
The risk from going swimming comes instead from potential improper safety precautions such as lack of social distancing. The CDC said those who went swimming needed to abide by safety suggestions, such as staying 6 feet away from others and staggering the use of communal spaces.
Experts agree with the CDC’s statements, supporting the idea that contracting the coronavirus from water is extremely unlikely. But they warn of crowds and the difficulty to control social distancing in popular swimming areas. It is also not feasible for people who are swimming to wear a face mask, which is why these places could potentially pose a greater risk.
This lack of caution was seen last month in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, when tourists packed into pools over Memorial Day weekend, ignoring social distancing guidelines. Afterward, a tourist who was at the Lake of the Ozarks tested positive for the coronavirus.
European countries apply different rules on swimming as they ease lockdowns and open some beaches. In late May, people were allowed to walk and run but not to swim or sunbathe on Spain's beaches. In the smallest Canary and Balearic Islands, people can sunbathe and swim but must apply social distancing.
With all this in mind, it is up to individuals to decide whether they feel safe enough to swim. Those who are considering it should maintain safety guidelines and take note of their state or country specific rulings. (vad/wng)
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