Are Pools Safe During the Pandemic?

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Avari Wang , Staff Writer

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public areas and buildings have been closed to prevent the transmission of the virus. However, one public place that seems to be a relatively “safe spot” is the pool, since most properly disinfected pools have chemicals that do not allow the virus to survive in their waters. 

“Unlike bacteria, which can survive in water that is not properly cleaned, viruses don’t survive well on their own in water, in the air, or on surfaces,” said Katie Kerwin McCrimmon from UCHealth. 

In other words, it is extremely unlikely and nearly impossible that someone would contract the virus through swimming in a pool if “some” of the COVID-19 virus was placed in the water. 

Along with chlorinated pools, bodies of saltwater also prevent the survival of COVID-19 within them. The virus needs hosts to survive and spread, so beaches would be “safe” if a few requirements are met.

Unfortunately, people can still transmit the virus if they sneeze or cough COVID-infected droplets and others inhale them. However, successful social distancing at pools should take care of this problem.

Some athletes who use pools (or bodies of water) are swimmers, divers, water polo players, surfers, and synchronized swimmers. Swimming, diving, and surfing are individual sports, so close contact among athletes can be easily avoided. On the other hand, water polo players and synchronized swimmers have to come in contact with each other during training, so it might be more difficult to maintain social distancing while practicing.

As of November, most pools had actually already opened up to the general public, with guidelines and restrictions of course. These rules include but were not limited to: mandatory mask-wearing when not in the water, people must stay six feet apart at all times, and people also must not show any symptoms of COVID-19. If these rules were not followed, the facilities’ managers had the right to ask them to leave to preserve the safety of everyone else.

On Dec. 2, Mayor Eric Garcetti placed a restricted order that closed indoor pools shared by more than one household, but allowed outdoor pools with lap swimming to remain open with one swimmer per lane.

In conclusion, if every single athlete and/or recreational swimmer can safely social distance from each other while at pools (this is however, pretty unlikely), then there would be no reason to fear getting sick. This is good news for many water sports athletes, and hopefully they can continue training throughout this pandemic by following the suggested guidelines in order to keep everyone safe.

 

Photo courtesy of ROSSMOOR.COM