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Study: Chlorinated water can kill COVID-19 in 30 seconds
By Nancy Clanton, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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London experts say chances of getting virus from swimming pool are ‘negligible’
The proper operation of public pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds (such as at an apartment complex or owned by a community) and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website. Now, a study out of London confirms that.
In an investigation commissioned by Swim England and the Water Babies swim school, with support from the Royal Life Saving Society, virologists from Imperial College London studied what effect varying concentrations of chlorine in water have on the coronavirus.
“We performed these experiments at our high containment laboratories in London,” study author Wendy Barclay, of the Imperial College London, told the Daily Mail. “Under these safe conditions we are able to measure the ability of the virus to infect cells, which is the first step in its transmission.
“By mixing the virus with swimming pool water that was delivered to us by the Water Babies team, we could show that the virus does not survive in swimming pool water — it was no longer infectious,” she added. “That, coupled with the huge dilution factor of virus that might find its way into a swimming pool from an infected person, suggests the chance of contracting COVID-19 from swimming pool water is negligible.”
For its study, researchers found that a concentration of free chlorine of 1.5 milligrams per liter and a pH of between 7–7.2 reduced the infectivity of the coronavirus more than 1,000 fold in just 30 seconds.
Although the water should be safe, precautions should still be taken when using a public poll, the CDC said.
That includes not sharing goggles, pool noodles and other equipment with anyone not in your household, and observing the same social distancing as you would outside of the pool.
The CDC also recommends wearing your mask, but not in the water, where it can soak up too much water and increase the risk of drowning.
The full findings of the London study have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson said they add “to the evidence that swimming pools can be safe and secure environments if appropriate measures are taken.”