Around the clock, scientists are working to gather information, but there is still a great deal that needs to be understood about how coronavirus spreads. As you may have noticed, media reports about this global pandemic are changing constantly as more data, testing, and outcomes, are reported. The information is evolving as researchers find out new details about the COVID-19 virus. For instance, when the virus started to spread earlier in the year, scientists thought that asymptomatic people were not contagious, masks needed to be worn only by those presenting symptoms, and people were safe as long as they stayed at least six feet apart. Now, things have changed.
Now that the disease has affected millions of people across the world, we have learned more. Because the disease can spread even when a carrier is asymptomatic, masks are encouraged, and even mandatory in certain areas. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the risk of catching COVID-19 from someone displaying no symptoms is very low, but the organization does not negate the possibility.
Scientists and doctors have also determined that the virus can live on surfaces and recommend that people disinfect any packaging they bring into their homes. The potential for contagion is discussed more in terms of risk level rather than any assurance of preventing the infection through behavior change alone. Fulfilling its role to continually monitor and respond to the outbreak, the WHO website is updated on an ongoing basis as more becomes known about how coronavirus spreads and its impact on people around the globe.
One of the health concerns that has been expressed by the public includes the safety of the water supply. When the pandemic spread, people rushed to buy cases of water bottles in fear that the water supply would be affected by the virus, and could potentially spread the disease. The good news is that researchers have determined that the virus cannot spread through water.
Coronavirus is not synonymous with COVID-19
The coronavirus most concerning at this time is the virus COVID-19. The coronavirus family encompasses a wide range of viruses, many of which result in the common cold and other respiratory infections. COVID-19, on other hand, is a disease that can have serious health consequences, especially for seniors age 65 and older and for people in any age group who have underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, cancer and many other ailments. Keep in mind that many people have reported illness and tested positive from COVID-19 that do not meet those criteria.
Concerns over virus in water
It may provide some relief to know that the virus that causes COVID-19 has not been found in the water used for drinking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assures us that “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.”
Additionally, no evidence has been discovered that COVID-19 has the potential to spread to humans through pools, hot tubs, spas or water playgrounds. However, this assumes proper operation, maintenance and disinfection of this equipment. The CDC has admonished owners and operators of community pools, hot tubs and spas to adhere to specific guidelines specific to disinfection and cleaning. Resources include the Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfection list. Most recently, guidance was announced related to the timing of disinfection following a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case.
Some local health authorities have released an advisory to boil water in communities where it is suspected that the water is contaminated with germs. In that case, the CDC recommends either using bottled water or boiling tap water. This expands to detailed instructions about food, beverage and ice preparation; washing dishes; and hygiene, including teeth brushing and bathing. Visit www.CDC.gov for details.