Your questions answered: Is Covid-19 waterborne? Can I have it without knowing?

20 March 2020, 14:07

Your questions answered: Are there different strains of Covid-19? Is it waterborne?
Your questions answered: Are there different strains of Covid-19? Is it waterborne? Picture: PA

By Seán Hickey

An expert in molecular virology and the chair of the London Assembly Health Committee joined Nick Ferrari to share their knowledge of coronavirus with the public.

Dr. Mohammed Munir, Lecturer in Molecular Virology at Lancaster University and Dr. Onkar Sahota, Chair of the London Assembly Health Committee were on hand to give the public advice and to answer any questions that they may have about Covid-19.

This caller was first to speak to Dr. Munir, who he asked is coronavirus was waterborne ie, transmittable through water?

Is Covid-19 waterborne?

John in Enfield wanted to know if Covid-19 was able to pass through sewage systems and thus allowing people to catch the disease through water.

Dr. Munir pointed out that John's question was a valid one, mentioning that SARS, another coronavirus from time gone by, was actually transmitted through water systems.

However, the lecturer in molecular virology was quick to point out that there is "no evidence so far" to suggest that Covid-19 can be contracted through water.

Dr. Munir assured the caller that although it has not been a proven waterborne virus as of yet, it is "good to keep all these options open" for consideration, should there be a mutation.

Are there different strains of Covid-19?

Through reports that some people are contracting the virus and showing no symptoms of illness whereas there are others who are fighting for their lives, Seb from Peckham wanted to know if there was more than one strain of Covid-19.

Dr. Munir made sure to point out that "viruses evolve very quickly" and scientists are quickly working to establish the finer details of Covid-19.

So far, Dr. Munir told that scientists have established "two or three different classes" of Covid-19 which have been established in society during this outbreak.

Dr. Munir told Seb that the current strain of Covid-19 however is one single strain and people simply just react differently to it.

Could I have Covid-19 and not know it?

Celia from Buckinghamshire texted in to Nick to ask our experts whether she could have had Covid-19 without even noticing, as she recalls having some symptoms a few weeks ago but they have since passed.

Dr. Sahoto was on hand to answer. The London Assembly Health Committee chief told Celia that although she may have had some symptoms it is more likely that she contracted a less serious coronavirus disease.

"Coronavirus is a seasonal infection" Dr. Sahoto said, assuring Nick that Celia may have had one of many coronavirus infections. She "could have had a viral infection, but it wasn't Covid-19" he said.

At this point Dr. Munir came in to point out that out of everyone that contracts a form of coronavirus, "4 out of 5 don't notice an infection."

If I isolate for two weeks, can I visit sick relatives in hospital?

Jane in Norwich her story to Nick that her grandson was self isolating after a treatment in Great Ormond Street. She wanted the experts to let her know that if she self isolated as a precaution, would she be safe to visit her grandson in hospital?

Dr. Sahoto was on hand to share his expertise with Jane, whereby he shared that he didn't see any issue with the precautions she was taking.

He did encourage her to isolate for the two weeks if she showed any symptoms of Covid-19 before making any social contact.

Ultimately, if she took care to isolate for two weeks after her grandson had isolated for two weeks, Dr. Sahoto assured Jane that she could absolutely visit him.