July 1, 2020
Happy National Clean Beaches Week – Don’t Forget to Wear Your Mask!
WE’RE STILL IN THE MIDDLE OF A GLOBAL PANDEMIC!
Happy National Clean Beaches WeekSource: The Burgundy Zine
Americans nationwide are flocking to beaches in droves as states ease their way into the green phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
While some may feel life is slowly “returning to normal,” other states have just begun to feel the full wrath of COVID-19.
In addition to raising our environmental awareness for National Clean Beaches Week, let’s not forget that we’re still amidst a global pandemic. We encourage you to spread information about making your day trips to the coast as safe as possible.
Is It Safe to Go to The Beach Right Now?
Define “safe.” If you’re asking, “Am I 100 percent risk-free of COVID-19 exposure during my trip to the beach,” then no. You’re not.
However, outdoor environments have increased airflow that can disperse potential germs carried in the tiny droplets that fling from our mouths every time we speak or breathe, as explained in a recent Vox video.
How coronavirus spreads outdoors vs. outdoorsSource: How coronavirus spreads outdoors vs. indoors | Vox
Beaches are notorious for their sea breeze, which may diminish your risk of being exposed to a high-volume of germ-dense particles.
That doesn’t put you completely in the clear, per se. Other factors, such as distance and duration of exposure to an individual who may be infected shape your risk of contracting COVID-19.
If you or someone you’re living with are immunocompromised, visiting the beach may be more risk than it’s worth.
Having a compromised immune system doesn’t mean you’re more likely to contract COVID-19, but it increases your risk for serious — potentially fatal — complications.
After all, the beach will still be there once the pandemic is “over.” Yes, being homebound for the summer is a drag — but your health and safety are more important than a day spent basking in the sun.
Beach Safety Guidelines Amidst COVID-19
- WEAR A MASK!
- Maintain at least six feet of distance between yourself and others at the beach
- Try to avoid visiting the beach with individuals you haven’t been social distancing with
- Do not share food, beverages, beach toys, or beach equipment with people you haven’t been social distancing with
- Don’t forget to pack hand sanitizer along with your sunscreen
- Don’t visit beaches that are out of state or very far from your home
- Familiarize yourself with state and local regulations in effect at the beach you intend to visit
- STAY HOME IF YOU’RE SYMPTOMATIC OR HAVE RECENTLY BEEN EXPOSED TO SOMEONE WITH COVID-19! Seriously. Don’t be a prick and get the rest of us sick
Is it Safe to Enter the Ocean Right Now?
Waves crashing along the coast at Island Beach State Park, N.J.Source: [FRAMES] Waves Stop Motion 05 | Penelope Peru Photography
EHH. Big EHH.
Although the Centers For Disease Prevention and Control say there’s evidence COVID-19 doesn’t spread through most recreational water, there are chemicals in swimming pools and hot tubs that keep them disinfected.
In all honesty, this pandemic is nothing like experts have ever seen before. Even the top virologists and health experts are simply treading water as we dive deeper into the science behind COVID-19.
Right now, no one is completely certain of the risks splashing around in the ocean may pose. Dip your feet in at your own risk and maintain at least six feet of distance between other surfers and swimmers.
There are reports of individuals who have contracted COVID-19 despite following all recommended safety guidelines.
YouTuber dianachamomile shares her experiences as a coronavirus survivorSource: i had covid-19: all of my weird symptoms, beating it, and recovery. | dianachamomile
“I work from home and I’ve been quarantined for longer than most people have,” Diana explains. “I’ve been doing everything you could possibly do, from disinfecting your packages to washing my hands, to disinfecting doorknobs, the bathroom, everywhere that I was always in. I was very careful.”
However, Diana lives in New York and her boyfriend is considered an essential worker. She suspects he may have contracted the virus and experienced a more mild version of COVID-19 in comparison to the infection she had.
YouTuber Jason Thompson shares his experiences as a coronavirus survivorSource: I contracted COVID-19 while following all the rules | Symptoms to ER in 5 days | Jason Thomspon
Thompson and his family had been social distancing and staying home since early March. They only left the house to pick up groceries or medicine. The only time they met up with friends Thompson said they were six feet apart and in a parking lot.
“One of the few times that I left the house included a visit to a restaurant on May 5th,” Thompson says. “The restaurant was open for just pickups and I decided to go out and get my family some food. I was aware that they had just opened the patio. What I didn’t know was they also opened the patio for dining, so there were people sitting and dining when I arrived.”
Thompson wore a mask and kept his distance at the restaurant, but there were many patrons there who weren’t wearing a mask.
“I just ordered something that wouldn’t take too long that I could maybe get really quick and just get out of there,” he continues. “But my order — no matter how small — still took 20 or 30 minutes because of how frantic everything was.”
More people started showing up without masks as Thompson was waiting. Finally, he received the food, placed it in the trunk of his car, and sanitized his hands before driving home.
“But about nine days later, I started feeling pinches in my chest,” Thompson says.
Although these are specific examples of COVID-19 cases, individual and empirical reports give us a better understanding of how the virus functions in our day to day lives.
It just goes to show no matter how cautious you are, anything outside of extreme social isolation puts you at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Honoring National Clean Beaches Week, Despite COVID-19
Oh, right. Let’s not forget we’ve been dealing with a climate crisis for decades, too.
In all seriousness, you should always be consciously aware of your environmental impact — especially while enjoying one of nature’s gifts, like a scenic beach.
Coastal tourism is a major contributor to marine pollution, says the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
Additionally, sewage and agricultural run-off are attributed to dead zones throughout marine environments. These are areas with very low oxygen where marine life can’t survive.
Thanks to humans, there are now about 500 dead zones globally. Plastic debris is also attributed to the deaths of over one million seabirds and more than 100,000 marine animals annually.
Adding insult to injury, more than eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year, according to non-profit organization Plastic Oceans.
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There may not be as many beach clean-ups this year due to the pandemic, which further stresses the importance of cleaning up after yourself during a trip to the beach. You should also encourage your loved ones to be extra environmentally aware while on the beach this summer.
It’s not a good idea to pick up litter on the beach with your bare hands during the pandemic. You don’t know where the trash has come from or what germs may be on it.
Instead, wear disposable gloves or use a trash picker to dispose of random litter. Be sure to sanitize your trash picker and your hands after using it, as well.
Miniature shopping cart with empty plastic bottles left by tourist on a tropical beachSource: Envato Elements
On a scale from social isolation to licking a surface contaminated with COVID-19, visiting the beach is relatively less risky than the latter option.
At the end of the day, how you conduct yourself at the beach ultimately determines how “safe” you are.
Now more than ever, it’s important to be aware of your space, both socially and environmentally. Don’t breathe on others, don’t let others breathe on you, and for the love of dolphins please don’t litter.
A dolphin gleefully flaps its flippersSource: GIPHY
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A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.comView more posts from this author