Can Coronavirus Spread Through Water?
The coronavirus outbreak has quickly turned into a global crisis, with the pandemic affecting everyday life in almost every country. With scientists conducting research into the COVID-19 virus and potential vaccines, there’s still a lot we don’t know about this novel virus. However, as time goes on we’re getting more of our questions answered.
One question that many people were asking when the virus started to rapidly spread around the world, is whether or not coronavirus can spread through water.
The thought of coronavirus spreading through water supplies, contaminating swimming pools, wastewater and even drinking water is a scary thought indeed. If the virus was able to transmit through water, we would have needed to take more drastic measures to prevent the spread.
One piece of positive news amongst the recent crisis coverage was that the World Health Organization (WHO) put speculations about coronavirus water transmission to rest.
Research Suggests Coronavirus Can’t Be Transmitted through Water
Both the WHO and CDC have conducted tests and research to see whether COVID-19 can be found in water supplies such as drinking water, the water used at aquatic facilities and wastewater. And so far, the virus hasn’t been detected in drinking water, and there’s no evidence that it can spread through drinking water. There’s also no evidence to suggest that it can spread through water used for recreational purposes (swimming pools, hot tubs, spas etc.).
As for wastewater, traces of COVID-19 have been found in the faeces of infected people, but details about whether contaminated stools are infectious are still in question. So far, there haven’t been any faecal-oral transmissions of the virus. The CDC states that there is a possibility that the virus can spread through sewerage systems, but is a low possibility.
Research is underway into coronavirus and wastewater, but current guidance is that standard chlorination practices may be enough to inactivate the virus. And for drinking water and recreational water, conventional water treatment systems should be sufficient.
Why Is Coronavirus Water Transmission Unlikely?
Coronaviruses have a viral envelope that is derived from the host’s membrane. This envelope allows the virus to protect itself and slip past immune systems and fuse with the host’s membrane. Once fused, the viral genome can then enter and infect the host.
Although the viral envelope of coronaviruses can aid infection, the envelope of the COVID-19 virus is not particularly robust when outside of a host. It is less stable and can be broken down by oxidants, such as chlorine. And once the outer envelope has broken down, the virus loses its functional receptors and is no longer able to cause infections.
Effective Water Treatment Is Still Hugely Important
While we don’t yet know the full picture about coronavirus and water transmission, the evidence so far suggests that there’s a very slim chance that it can spread through water.
Nonetheless, it’s hugely important that businesses and water providers make sure they’re using effective water treatment systems.
The CDC has advised that conventional methods of water treatment may be able to inactivate coronavirus in water. And in addition to coronavirus, there are many other waterborne diseases that could cause serious infections at a time when good health is more important than ever. An effective water treatment system will inactivate any harmful microorganisms, preventing the spread of a variety of infections.
We can help businesses in all industries ensure water is effectively treated. Our UV water purification systems can be used to remove harmful microorganisms from water without harmful chemicals or disinfection byproducts. Get in touch with our friendly team of experts for professional advice about UV water systems.