How likely it is to get Covid-19 if you swim in a swimming pool?
Staying healthy these days comes down to, not just keeping away from COVID-19 but also maintaining vitality and ensuring your immune system is strong. Since we all love our weekly swim, the question on everyone’s lips is: Can you catch the coronavirus from a swimming pool?
Following normal procedures, chlorine is added to pool water since it kills germs, including viruses. The amount of chlorine in the water needs to be properly maintained for its disinfectant qualities to be effective. Therefore, lifeguards and pool managers test chlorine and pH levels throughout the day and adjust as needed.
What is Chlorine?
Chlorine is a naturally occurring chemical in nature, with the atomic number 17. The most common form of chlorine is sodium chloride, which as you may remember from your high school chemistry days, is table salt.
The key to how chlorine sanitizes a pool lies in how it interacts with the water itself. When chlorine is added to water, it forms a weak acid called hypochlorous acid. Because most bacteria cells, such as those found in E. coli, are negatively charged and hypochlorous acid is neutrally charged, the hypochlorous acid penetrates the bacteria and oxidizes its protein cells, which break the bacteria down. It’s the combination of chlorine and water that kills harmful microorganisms commonly found in swimming pools.
Although chlorine is the single most important component in terms of taking care of a pool, it is not independent from the other components of the pool water. The degree to which chlorine is effective in sanitizing a pool by breaking down contaminants, is highly correlated to the degree to which the pH is kept in balance.
As of now, there is no evidence that the coronavirus spreads through pool water. According to Amesh Adalja, state MD and infectious disease expert in Maryland, USA, “The coronavirus doesn’t survive in chlorinated water”. Additionally, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in USA ) also confirm that pool water is not a likely vector of transmission saying, “Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.” A WTAG spokesperson also said, “The available evidence shows that the physical effect of the pool water and an appropriate relationship between free chlorine and pH value should inactivate the virus within 15-30 seconds. The dilution of virus in the pool water volume will also reduce the risk of exposure and transmission.”