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What is COVID?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, in fact there are hundreds in total, though only seven are known which cause sickness in humans. The most infamous and serious of these are SARS (SARS-Cov), MERS (MERS-CoV), and of course COVID-19.
Coronaviruses in general were first reported in the late 1920s, however, human coronaviruses were not discovered until the 1960s. COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, discovered in 2019.
How is COVID spread?
There are 3 ways which an infected person, or host, can transmit the coronavirus to another person.
The first way is via airborne particles which are breathed, coughed, talked, or sneezed out via the nose or mouth. The tiny particles can then land on the faces of a nearby person, or even be inhaled directly into the lungs, resulting in infection.
The second method is by route of fomite. Fomites, or fomes, are surfaces or objects which can become contaminated with pathogens, viruses or fungi, and can transfer disease to a new host. This includes things like clothing and furniture.
The third possible transmission method is via a fecal-oral route, which is usually an issue in areas of poor sanitation or due to bad personal hygiene practises.
Is COVID transmissible through pool water?
Luckily, there is no evidence that the virus causing COVID-19 is spread through swimming pools.
The same goes for hot tubs and spas, water playgrounds, water parks, and natural areas of water like the ocean, lakes, rivers, and seas.
Is it safe to use the pool at home?
According to experts, the coronavirus doesn’t survive in chlorinated water. However, it’s important not to assume complete safety from the coronavirus just because you are in the pool.
It’s still possible to inhale droplets exhaled by a carrier and contract the virus if you are close enough to them, regardless of your environment.
Is it COVID-safe to use a public pool?
For the same reasons that it’s OK to use your pool at home, using a public pool should not put you at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 from the water itself. It’s safe to use any pool as long as other COVID-safe practises are adhered to.
Other considerations to be COVID-safe around a pool
Just because we are unlikely to get coronavirus from the pool water itself, we mustn’t get complacent. There are still risks to be aware of and measures we can take to ensure we remain safe and healthy.
Don't worry, you can still use your pool, and so far there isn't any evidence of harmful coronavirus pathogen transfer in a pool - especially a chlorinated one. The most important thing you can do to keep you and your family safe is to maintain good hygiene and sanitation standards, including regular testing of the chemical levels in your pool and regular cleaning.