Coronavirus

Scientists are unsure of coronavirus effects at the beach

Kim Prather, a leading atmospheric chemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, wants to yell out her window at every surfer, runner, and biker she spots along the San Diego coast.

“I wouldn’t go in the water if you paid me $1 million right now,” she said.

The beach, in her estimation, is one of the most dangerous places to be these days, as the novel coronavirus marches silently across California.

Many beachgoers know they can suffer skin rashes, stomach illness and serious ear and respiratory infections if they go into the water within three days of a heavy rain, because of bacteria and pathogens washing off roads and into the ocean. Raw or poorly treated sewage entering the ocean also poses major health risks.

Prather fears that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could enter coastal waters in similar ways and transfer back into the air along the coast.

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What is the coronavirus risk in the ocean, pools, and lakes

Summer always means water, whether it’s an ocean, lake, river, swimming pool or hot tub. But now that we’re worrying more about germs, it’s natural to wonder: Will this season’s swimming, surfing, floating and soaking be as safe as it used to be?

Yes, many experts say.

“There is no data that somebody got infected this way” with coronavirus,” said professor Karin B. Michels, chair of UCLA’s Department of Epidemiology, in a recent interview.

“I can’t say it’s absolutely 100% zero risk, but I can tell you that it would never cross my mind to get COVID-19 from a swimming pool or the ocean,” said Paula Cannon, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. “It’s just extraordinarily unlikely that this would happen.”

On web pages giving pandemic advice, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say, “There is no evidence that the virus

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