New coronavirus might spread through sewage pipes

Two new confirmed cases in Hong Kong living on different floors of a building sparks concern that building pipes could be a path of infection.


NSFW    HONG KONG — A Hong Kong woman fell victim to the new coronavirus after a man residing 10 floors directly above her unit became sick. The South Morning China Post reports on Tuesday that the new cases suggest building pipes could be a path for the virus.

Citing the WHO, Live Science reports that the coronavirus which causes SARS could get into feces and infect people through leaky pipes because compromised sewage pipes could allow pathogens to move into the surrounding air.

Toilets have a u-shaped drain to trap fluids and odor. However, the Washington Post reported in 2003 that faulty plumbing can cause backwash from toilets, which led to a SARS outbreak at another residential tower in Hong Kong.

Citing an infectious disease expert, Live Science explains that the new virus, now named COVID-19, could in fact transmit via feces, although aerosols from coughing and sneezing are still believed to be the main infection mechanism.
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