While the coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a large impact on sporting events, including limiting spectators and cancelled events, more answers are emerging as to whether or not the virus will spread through pools. According to an official statement by the Center for Disease Control, there is no evidence that the virus spreads to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs.
As long as pools are properly maintained and disinfected through the use of chlorine and bromine, the virus should be removed or inactivated. There has also been no detection of the virus in drinking water, as filtration removes or deactivates the virus.
SwimSwam’s Loretta Race earlier reported the findings of an Irish study on how chlorine reacts with the virus. The following requirements were found to deactivate the virus in pools and drinking water:
- For Drinking Water chlorination, ‘current recommendations’ is taken to mean a Ct value of at least 15 mg.min/liter (for example exposure to 0.5 mg/l free chlorine for at least 30 minutes).
- For Swimming Pool chlorination, operating to ‘current recommendations / best practice’ means maintenance of a free chlorine residual of at least 1.0 mg/l (depending on pool type and disinfectant used).
While the virus shouldn’t spread via the water in the pool, action is still being taken to contain the spread of the disease. The NCAA released a statement today announcing the limitation of spectators at upcoming championships. Events will be conducted with only essential staff and limited family attendance. This will include the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, which will be held later this month.
The virus can still spread via other methods for individuals in an aquatic environment, though, including via close proximity of athletes.