People are asking whether they should be concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus while swimming.

Experts say water needn't be a cause for concern. The CDC says there is no evidence the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs or water play areas.

"I don't believe that bodies of water — swimming pools, lakes or ponds or the ocean — are major ways that people can contract this virus," says Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security. "Remember, it's a respiratory virus that spreads through coughs and sneezes and common-touch surfaces. So obviously, if you're at a pool and people are sick and touching common-touch surfaces — maybe the chairs or the tables — that can be a risk. But the water itself: No."

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But since the virus spreads through droplets, do we need to worry about those droplets in the water? Probably not.

Abraar Karan, a physician at Harvard Medical School, says there's no data that suggests the virus could transmit through viral particles dispersed through a body of water.

The bigger concern, he says, is contact with other people while swimming.

"The key is still social distancing," Karan says. "So if you're in a pool and you're having face-to-face contact and if you're not wearing any sort of facial protection in the pool — obviously swimming with a cloth mask on your face can be dangerous for other reasons — then you can certainly still spread it in the normal respiratory way."


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