The massive spread of COVID-19, known as the coronavirus, experts have provided information on how people can protect themselves during this outbreak. It is stressed that people wash their hands continuously throughout the day along with social distancing.
Another warning has to do with an activity most American practice everyday: going to the gym.
Crowded gyms are presented as a high risk area to contract the virus. Doctors say that while sweat cannot transmit the virus, high contact surfaces such as weights can. A study of other coronaviruses found they remained on metal, glass, and plastic for up to nine days.
According to the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, there have been well over 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide with more than 500 of those cases in the United States.
“If you’re in a community where there have been cases of the coronavirus, that’s, perhaps, a time to be more cautious with all types of exposures, including a gym,” says Dr. David Thomas, a professor of medicine and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, to The New York Times. He described that objects like handles and doorknobs as “disproportionally affected by hands, and those are the surfaces most likely to have viruses for that reason.”
Gyms are stepping up their cleaning procedures to make members feel safe and to eliminate any risk of contaminating their equipment. Luxury fitness brand Equinox has sent notices to their members, reassuring them that additional steps are being taken as concerns about the coronavirus grow.
“You can see the dangers imposed by a place like that on an ordinary basis—you’re dealing with hundreds of people over a day,” Philip Tierno, Ph.D., clinical professor in the department of pathology at New York University, told Health. “You’re dealing with hundreds of people over a day,” he said. He added that the risk of getting sick can increase with this kind of outbreak.