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You probably can’t get coronavirus from swimming pools. Just watch out for people

Duxbury's Hannah Norton swam during the MIAA North and South Girls Swimming and Diving Sectionals at MIT last month.Jonathan Wiggs

If you’re someone who enjoys swimming laps, you may be wondering: is it safe to use swimming pools during the coronavirus outbreak?

First, the good news.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there’s "no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs.”

In fact, CDC officials say “proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”

And while we’re on the topic of getting wet — what about drinking water?

“The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water,” according to the CDC. “Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”


And now, the bad news.

If you swim at a public pool, you put yourself at risk of coming into contact with an infected person or a contaminated surface, just like you would at any other public facility.

CDC officials say this coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. It spreads between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) with one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, according to the CDC.

“These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs,” the website states.

And watch out for contaminated surfaces. It may also be possible for a person to get Covid-19 “by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes," according to the CDC, “but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”


The city of Boston has not closed any of its swimming pools.

On Friday the Boston Centers for Youth & Families reported that all 15 pools were open for business, although one had to close due to a mechanical problem.

Sandy Holden, a spokeswoman for the Boston Centers for Youth & Families, noted that the closure of the Mildred Avenue community center pool was only temporary.

“We hope to reopen it Monday depending on the necessary repairs,” she said.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at Follow her @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.