Can Coronavirus Live In Swimming Pools?

COVID-19 mainly spreads through exposure to droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. But questions remain about its transmission as the medical community has yet to fully understand the novel coronavirus spreads. 

Health authorities said people could easily catch the virus when in closed areas, like grocery stores, hospitals and clinics. One common question is if swimming pools can also put people at high risk of contracting COVID-19. 

The answer is that people may not get the coronavirus from the water. But the risk of exposure increases around the pool.

“It’s actually a respiratory virus,” Roberta Lavin, a professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee’s College of Nursing, told the U.S. Masters Swimming. “The question remains about all the modes of transmission, which we don’t know at this point. However, it’s not believed that it’s transmitted by water.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that people are unlikely to get COVID-19 from the water. There is no evidence that the virus can infect people through the use of pools and hot tubs. 

CDC explained that proper maintenance and disinfection of pools and hot tubs can help kill or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. Chlorine alone in pool water can help clear the water. 

“The good news is that the average amount of chlorine that’s in a pool is going to kill the virus,” Lavin said. “I think of all the things you could do, swimming is probably safer than most activities.”

However, it is important to know that the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains around pools. When using pools in a gym facility or other public space, people are likely to get the virus before they reach the chlorinated water.

Lavin said that an infected person may contaminate surfaces heading to the pool. Droplets carrying the coronavirus can stay on hard surfaces for hours to days. 

Getting in and out of the pool may involve touching different objects, such as a door handle, a communal shower tap, a card scanner, a locker or a bench. Studies previously showed that the coronavirus could survive on plastic and steel for up to three days, which are common materials around swimming pools. 

Water and COVID-19 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that people are unlikely to get COVID-19 from drinking water or using pools and hot tubs because of chemical treatments. Pixabay