These are stressful times. With empty shelves where hand sanitizer once was, bold news headlines about countries on lock down, and a work-from-home mandate slowly sweeping the United States, many are feeling anxious—and on top of that, cooped up. Thankfully, the cure for these feelings also poses a likely protection against the coronavirus. The fact of the matter? Your pool may be the safest place to avoid the coronavirus disease that we’re all coming to know as COVID-19.
Your COVID-19 Summary: Here’s What We Know.
Although it originated in China, the virus SARS-CoV-2 has now been detected in over 100 locations internationally. This virus has proven to spread at an exponential rate through community spread, meaning many people affected with SARS-CoV-2—which results in the illness COVID-19—do not know how or when they were exposed. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
But wait: the term “coronavirus” is far from new. COVID-19 is the seventh coronavirus known to affect humans, and shares the same family as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Although these outbreaks spiked in the early 2000s and 2010s, they’re still a household name.
Thankfully, they’ve also been the subjects of extensive research. Since SARS and MERS belong to the same family of coronaviruses as COVID-19, they share similar physical and biochemical properties, as well as transmission behavior. With a fair amount of confidence, we can use these viruses as a point of reference to understand how COVID-19 spreads.
The Coronavirus Spreads Fast—But Not in Your Pool.
So you’re an upstanding citizen and doing what you can to limit the spread of the coronavirus—namely, avoiding crowded places, working from home, and stocking up with enough groceries for the long haul. It’s normal to go a little stir-crazy, right? Sure, but it’s not necessary. The truth is you can probably also get out of the house and enjoy yourself, without worrying about contracting anything but a good time. Thanks to the powers of maintenance, the sheer volume of water, and a potential quality-of-life boost, your swimming pool just might be the safest place to wait out the pandemic.
Want our quick pick for a virus-killing pool? Circulation is everything, and the Black & Decker 2HP Energy Star Variable-Speed Pump is the way to go. It’s quiet and cool, saves big time on energy costs, and comes with a lifetime warranty. It also has options for horsepower, so you can specialize it to your pool’s specific needs.
Chlorine Kills the Coronaviruses Cell Structure
Even in this recent scare, there’s good news. Keep in mind that the resiliency of virus cells is often measured by their very biological structure. What it comes down to is simple: if a virus cell is enveloped by an outer membrane, it’s harder to kill. This recent outbreak of coronavirus that yields COVID-19 is non-enveloped, meaning it’s the weakest type of all virus cells—as long as it has a worthy opponent.
Meet the best-known killer for disease in water—again. Chances are you have it on hand, as it’s something any pool owner uses routinely: chlorine. A healthy dose of this chemical agent is projected to remove all trace of active coronaviruses, including COVID-19. In fact, the recommended dose of chlorine in swimming pools kills most bacteria—and in under a minute.
There’s a reason chlorine is commonly used to sterilize drinking water. It’s a tried and true killer of unwanted pathogens, and the right concentration is safe to interact with, even ingest. The same concept applies to swimming water. If only air itself could be effectively chlorinated—we probably wouldn’t be in this situation now.
The Droplet-to-Water Ratio
The verdict is unanimous: the main way this new coronavirus spreads is through respiratory droplets, which are often produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there has been no evidence that COVID-19 can spread in pools. While many speculate on the reason why coronaviruses likely can’t trasmit in pools, many health experts credit the combination of the sanitizing-effects of chlorine and the fact that the virus droplets are wiped out by the sheer amount of pool water that they instantly encounter.
This is a welcome break from life outside the pool, where a sneeze can spread the coronavirus between people up to six feet apart.
An effective pool pump is essential for circulating the necessary chemicals. Our recommendation? Start fresh with Energy Star Variable Speed In Ground Pool Pump. It guarantees you’ll save big on energy costs, is eligible for rebates, and comes with a lifetime warranty.
The Lifestyle Factor
Sorry, yoga classes everywhere. Not only do you have suffering attendance rates, but now the country has a new mantra: Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. And while these are invariably good rules to follow, shouldn’t we also talk about other factors over which we have control?
Here’s a big one for you: stress. While it has been long-recorded that stress weakens the immune system, it might be surprising to know that people who are older or have existing health conditions are especially prone to compromised immune systems in response to stress. That’s exactly the group most prone to severe—and sometimes fatal—cases of coronavirus.
So while it might seem superfluous to point out that swimming in pools reduces feelings of stress, combine it with these facts: (1) coronavirus likely can’t survive in a properly chlorinated pool, especially given the sheer amount of water to which it comes into contact and (2) those who are at risk of not recovering from the coronavirus are the same group most compromised by stress. Considering it’s a question of life or death, now is the time to consider all aspects of our health—including our lifestyle.
Is Your Pool Safely Chlorinated Against Coronavirus?
Recommended by the CDC, the most accurate way to measure chlorine concentration in a swimming pool is with the help of a digital colorimeter. The meter can detect zero to four milligrams per liter. The sweet spot? From a health standpoint, at least one milligram per liter is recommended in order to effectively sanitize your pool water against pathogens.
Did you know that debris has the potential to quickly exhaust your sanitizer? Keep your pool clean—and safe—with the Blue Torrent MyBot In Ground Robotic Pool Cleaner. It’s the most economical, high-performance pool cleaner on the market, and the junk that enters into your pool doesn’t stand a chance against it.
Stay Safe, and Keep Swimming.
These are worrying times, but that doesn’t mean you have to stagnate indoors and allow cabin fever to do its worst. Just make sure that you’re properly maintaining your pool, and you can swim worry free. If you tend to go out to your local swimming pool, ask management about the chlorination levels, and be mindful of your interaction with shared spaces before and after your swim. Surprisingly enough, it’s not what happens in pool waters you should be worried about—it’s what’s outside.