Covid 19 virus not in water supply
Erroneous claims that the coronavirus is being found in tap water have recently resurfaced in social media posts.
A Facebook post shared Dec. 27 shows a screenshot of an Instagram post with a picture of three COVID-19 antigen tests that each have two lines indicating a positive result.
“I’m literally using water y’all!! Freaking water!! It’s sick!!,” says the caption of the screenshotted post.
In less than a week, the post generated more than 2,000 shares, and several variations of the claim were also posted by Facebook users.
One person wrote, “Vaccinators please explain this???” with a reposted photo of a positive Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 rapid home test that included the caption, “We only put water on it and it tested positive…no DNA just water. I’m convinced it’s in the water.”
Manufacturers of the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 test said in a statement that its test is not designed to be used with any other liquids or foods. This is because, as many doctors have pointed out, the chemical properties of other substances change the functioning of the device.
“BinaxNOW is for use with samples collected with a nasal swab inserted into a person’s nostrils,” said John Koval, a representative for Abbott Rapid Diagnostics in a statement. “BinaxNOW is not for use with water or any other foods or liquids. When used as intended, it is a highly accurate test that is helping to detect COVID-19 and can significantly improve efforts to control transmission.”
The company cont inued, “Spreading misinformation with deliberate misuse of a medical product during a pandemic is misleading, irresponsible, and dangerous to public health. Other liquids have chemical properties which can cause a chemical reaction on the test strip, resulting in misleading or inaccurate results. Failure to follow the instructions for the test procedure and interpretation of test results may adversely affect test performance and produce misleading or invalid results.”
Like swimming pool water, guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) explains that COVID-19 is not in drinking water due to “treatment methods” used to “neutralize infectious pathogens.”
The Environmental Protection Agency also said in a statement that “The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies. Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low. Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual.”
The Centers for Disease Control has also published a statement about recreational water, such as water in pools and spas. “CDC is not aware of any scientific reports of the virus that causes COVID-19 spreading to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, water playgrounds, or other treated aquatic venues.”
Additionally, scientific studies have demonstrated that a free chlorine level of 0.5 ppm resulted in complete inactivation of SARS-CoV over the 30-minute timeframe tested.
Furthermore, as it pertains to swimming pools, a study published in October, 2021, entitled “Inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 in chlorinated swimming pool water” states that a “30-second contact time at room temperature with water of a pH of no more than 7.4 and free chlorine above 1.5 mg./l. (1.5 ppm) resulted in at least a 3-log10 reduction in viral titer within 30-seconds.”
The authors concluded that when pools are maintained such that they adhere to guidelines for chlorination, bathers can feel confident of their own safety.
The virus is not a waterborne pathogen and is inactivated relatively quickly in treated water.
However, it is still recommended to adhere to social distancing at aquatic venues.