WASHINGTON — QUESTION:
Is there any evidence that the virus causing COVID-19 can spread through pool water or hot tubs?
Dr. Sanjay Maggirwar- Professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences
As public pools in our area begin to reopen amid the pandemic, some people might not be ready to get their feet wet.
So we’re verifying if there's any evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread through pool water or hot tubs?
First, we turned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said that, right now, there’s no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread this way.
They said that proper operation and maintenance of these facilities, including disinfecting with chlorine and bromine, should “inactivate the virus in the water.”
Dr. Sanjay Maggirwar gave our researchers three reasons why the virus would not transmit through pool water.
“First is the sheer volume of the water dilutes out the virus if any virus gets into the water," Maggirwar said. "The second is that the water is treated with chlorine and other disinfectants, so the virus cannot survive that.”
Dr. Maggirwar said the third reason has to do with a change of pressure, called "osmotic shock," when virus particles hit the water. The membrane of the virus can rupture and the particles break down making it non-infectious.
So we can Verify, currently, there’s no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread through pool water or in hot tubs.
Social distancing recommendations still apply in or out of the pool. The CDC recommends you avoid pools and hot tubs where you cannot stay at least six feet away from others.