What is it like to swim

Risk of infection Sars-CoV-2 Can we go swimming despite Corona?

Whether in the Cospudener See south of Leipzig center, in the Saale near the Ziegelwiese in Halle, at the Bleilochtalsperre in Thuringia or in one of the nearly 450 outdoor swimming pools in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia - the possibilities to refresh yourself in the cool water in Central Germany , are diverse. And that should be used. The Saxon Ministry of Health, for example, had already made it clear at the beginning of May: "Bathing is considered exercise and sport in the fresh air. If the distance regulations are observed, there is nothing wrong with that."

Low risk of infection in bathing waters

Scientists around the world agree that transmission via water is very unlikely. The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in Dessau-Rosslau "sees no evidence that the Sars-CoV-2 is transmitted via water". Dr. Regine Szewzyk from the UBA explains to MDR Wissen: "It is not to be expected that relevant concentrations of coronaviruses that could lead to an infection will enter bathing water via the sewage path." For example, there are 109 million cubic meters of water in Lake Cospuden. that an infected person brings into the water are very heavily diluted here. Wastewater that may contain other viruses is also not discharged directly into bathing water. Various scientists from the USA and the Netherlands had found traces of SARS CoV-2 in the stool of infected people The virus was no longer infectious, so it is extremely unlikely that it will be infected in lakes or rivers.

Chlorine inactivates the virus

In conventional swimming pools, which regularly filter and disinfect the water they contain, a special property of the virus plays an important role. Covid-19 is a so-called enveloped virus. The genetic material is therefore surrounded by a lipid double membrane. Disinfection with chlorine damages the membrane and thus "inactivates or kills potential pathogens," explains the UBA. The Irish Health Protection Surveillance Center considers one milligram of chlorine per liter to be sufficient for this. The Federal Environment Agency rates the risk of infection higher in pools with biological treatment. The only focus here is on natural cleaning and degradation processes. Therefore, the water temperature should not be above 23 ° Celsius, because at higher temperatures there is a risk of pathogens growing.

Risk: contamination from surfaces

The real risk lurks before and after swimming. What is touched before the bathing fun begins? Is the minimum distance kept in the changing room and on the lawn? Infection with Covid-19 through direct contact or surfaces is much more likely than through the water itself. This is especially true in swimming pools where changing rooms and showers are shared. So of course you should shower before and after swimming, ideally at home. The Federal Environment Agency also sees a need for personnel in swimming pools in particular to have a "responsible approach to individual hygiene". It remains important to keep a sufficient distance. In addition, Dr. Regine Szewzyk has an important note ready: "People who know they have an infection should not go swimming." That always applies, whether in times of Corona or not.