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Can Spa Resorts still be Safe during the Coronavirus Pandemic? Dr. Stephanie Silvera Weighs in for the Wall Street Journal

Posted in: College News and Events, Public Health

The entrance to Mii amo resort in Sedona, Arizona

The isolation brought on by the coronavirus has created a secondary crisis. Reported symptoms of anxiety, depression and other disorders have more than tripled since 2019, according to a September study by the American Medical Association. With their ample open spaces, destination spas say they can help. Their activity calendars were packed with rituals focused on stress relief and spiritual well-being long before the term “coronavirus” entered our lexicons, and they’re now positioning themselves as points of refuge in the pandemic.

But, is it safe?

Dr. Stephanie Silvera, Professor in the Public Health Department, commented: “We know that stress has an impact on the immune system, and cardiovascular activities help calm you. So if you can do them outside, with spacing, there’s a lot of value and benefit.”

No evidence suggests that Covid-19 can spread in chlorinated pools. Saunas are a fairly safe bet, too, if heated to at least 158 degrees Fahrenheit, said Dr. Silvera. The virus cannot survive those temperatures. But Dr. Silvera cautioned that no magic scenario, whether outdoors or not, can entirely erase the risk of Covid-19. Masks, social distancing and strict sanitation remain important measures. “Imagine that each preventive behavior is a layer of Swiss cheese that has some holes, and when you layer them, those holes go away,” she said.