A few months ago, someone in Florida sent me a link to a news item – I think it was from Yahoo News – in which a professor in California was warning people to stay away from the seashore as she was sure that they would get infected by the ocean surf there.
I dissected the article and had to dismiss it as panicky nonsense. It for example mentioned the rapid spread (in Wuhan) as an argument but Wuhan is nowhere near the sea and everything that was ascribed to marine spray could much more easily be explained through asymptomatic spread. The existence of the latter was not even mentioned in the item. I did not expect the virus to be able to play a big role in the marine environment on the basis of my very limited knowledge in this area.
Just now, I spotted an article written by Kristen Kusek, who I know from my time in Florida. She is now the communications director at the place where we both were into marine science, while she also pursued journalism at the Poynter Institute a bit further down the road.
USF’s College of Marine Science has started the first American program to look at the virus in wastewater. I had earlier heard about the virus having been detected in sewage in, I think, Venice.
It is very important to keep in mind that the virus having been detected waste water (or anything else) DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU CAN CATCH COVID-19 from it.
It was time for a quick update.
I found this:
At first glance, this seems to confirm my assessment. Good.
Here is more on the topic:
As I live in an island city, with a stormwater sewage overflow to the east of us and a (treated) sewage outlet slightly to the east of that, along the seashore, such questions have local relevance. So far, nothing to worry about.
(Please note that this does not mean that the situation will stay this way, but at this point, there is nothing to indicate that it won’t. That’s okay. We have plenty on our plate as it is.)