First toilet paper, now above-ground pools

Ordering above-ground pools. (Photo by Jessica Silva)

In these unprecedented times, Americans have struggled deciding how to prepare for the months ahead. In March, when the panic surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic first began, retailers reported a shortage of toilet paper. In April, many animal shelters reported a lack of adoptable pets. The newest craze? Above-ground pools. 

We’ve already sold three-times as many above-ground pools as we would normally sell all year,” reported Matt Collins, owner of Apollo Pools and Spas in Massachusetts, to the Taunton Daily Gazette. “I can’t even come close to keeping up with the number of calls I’m getting.”

This increase in sales comes just as most states are lifting their stay-at-home orders and schools are letting out for summer break. Many parents are concerned that regular summertime activities, like swimming in a local pool, will expose their children to the coronavirus. 

"We're probably not going to join our town pool this year for obvious reasons," said Carla Labianca, a mother of three who just bought a pool, in an interview to ABC7 New York. With many summer camps closing their doors for the year, parents with active children have been searching for creative outlets. 

Earlier this month, the CDC released statements that COVID-19 is not transmittable through the water in pools or hot tubs. In fact, they believe that swimming is a great way to get physical activity at any age because of documented cardiovascular benefits. However, there are other risk factors involved in the spread of the disease other than just the water. 

According to an article in MedicineNet, exposure to the coronavirus can come from, “crowds, poor air circulation [in indoor pools], and contaminated surfaces such as handrails.” There is also a risk in public bathrooms and other shared spaces. 

The CDC published a list of guidelines for public pools and hot tubs during the pandemic. The publication includes many of the same recommendations American citizens have been hearing for months: frequent handwashing, the usage of masks and gloves, and social distancing. However, the CDC has recommended posting informational signs in all public spaces to inform patrons of the potential risks involved in using a swimming pool. 

“The real problem now is the issue of crowding. Crowds need to be avoided,” said Dr. Robert A. Norton, a professor of Public Health at Auburn University and a member of several coronavirus task forces, in an interview with People

Background pools are a simple solution to keep summer fun while also being cautious. It eliminates the exposure by crowding as well as the concerns over shared public surfaces. Many states have already reported spikes in above-ground pool sales, including New York, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Kentucky, and California. In fact, Google Trends shows that the term “above ground pool” has been steadily increasing in searches over the past 90 days, especially in the Southern states. 

“We need to make the most of what I think is going to be a long summer,” said Carla Labianca, mother of three.  

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