COVID-19 Could Be Coming to a Building Near You, Through the Plumbing

Do you live in a high rise? You might have yet another reason to worry about the novel coronavirus. A report published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that the virus might spread through plumbing pipes.

It’s long been known that COVID-19 viral particles can live in feces (poop). We’ve been warned about keeping the lid down when flushing the toilet, to avoid spraying aerosolized virus particles. But this is something more: an outbreak of COVID-19 may have been started when a sick resident in a high rise building flushed away… the remains of the day. Coronavirus in the poop may have spread through the drainage pipes, infecting three families on higher floors.

A separate report, also from China and published in Environment International, likewise found that the coronavirus may have spread in aerosol form through high-rise plumbing. Although these reports don’t prove that the infections were transmitted through the plumbing, they certainly raise the possibility. The poop was there, the plumbing was there, the virus was there….

Nonetheless, improving bathroom ventilation, repairing faulty or outdated plumbing and having good bathroom hygiene are all still good ideas. The authors of the Annals of Internal Medicine report suggest making sure that U-shaped water drainage traps under sinks, tubs and showers don’t dry out. When these dry out, it can allow sewer gases to escape.

Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. Do not take action based solely on this article and always consult with an appropriate healthcare professional. This article is purely for informational purposes.

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