Spring breakers were slammed in March for disregarding social distancing orders and crowding Florida beaches during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, there might be another reason to avoid beaches and oceans altogether.
Kim Prather—an atmospheric scientist who specializes in viruses and bacteria that discharge from the ocean—has said people should refrain from surfing, swimming, walking, or biking along the coast, TMZ reports. She explained that the virus could enter the water and spray back into the air.
“Surfers are saying that they’re safe if they stay 6 feet away from other people, but that’s only true if the air isn’t moving,” Prather told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “Most of the time, there’s wind or a breeze at the coast. Tiny drops of virus can float in the air and get blown around.”
Prather added that people should take others into account when deciding whether or not to swim. "If you don't care about your own life, that's one thing. But this can be a matter of life or death to other people. I’m really worried because the coronavirus is so contagious,” she added.
Prather has discovered that the ocean is a hotspot for pathogens and it continuously ejects particles back into the atmosphere. She believes that coronavirus is buoyant enough to float in the air much farther than we thought, which means social distancing isn’t effective near the ocean.
There now seems to be conflicting claims about just how airborne COVID-19 is. Still, a number of beaches across the U.S. have shuttered amid stay-at-home orders, which ban people from gathering in large groups.