What we can try to explore though is people’s health concerns and their reluctance to return to the water.
It should be clearly stated that I am a diving instructor, not a medical professional or virologist! These are my thoughts, opinions, and musings. And I reserve the right to change them.
Photo: Croatia, Kalliopi telegraph face
As we are all very aware now, ‘Rona’ (let’s keep in informal) can have severe effects to the respiratory system. As divers though I think we need to look at this in context. If we had been severely unwell with Covid, hospitalised, having required supplementary oxygen then diving is unlikely to be on our immediate horizon. This sort of case would not fit into any sort of grey area.
Photo: Truk lagoon, Nippo Maru gun mounts
Where the concerns with diving could potentially lay is in those that have been unwell with mild symptoms, those that were positive with no symptoms and those that are concerned they may have been positive but asymptomatic. How do we address the fears of this group? As an industry we would hope divers are going to be rushing to grab their fins and race to the coast when we are released from what is now ‘lockdown #3’.
Photo: Seiko Maru gallery
Post ‘Rona #1’, one of the main reasons cited by the ‘powers that be’ for the slow return to diving were potential complications whilst diving following an asymptomatic infection. As a professional diver this was a worrying stance. Without a significant study into the effects of asymptomatic infection in divers, the prospects for diving were not good. 2 weeks, and a U-turn later, diving was on again.
Now while it has been quite cathartic writing this, what would really be of more benefit is how can we let Rona move us in a potentially better direction?
As far as studying the effects of asymptomatic cases in divers, if you are still reading this then there is a chance that you are part of that study. The likelihood of any professional research being undertaken on what is such a small % of people in this time frame is unlikely. Though the likes of DAN may (one would assume) collate accident data to see if there are any correlations between those and the effects of the Rona.
Photo: Notung, bridge gear
Maybe, rather than focussing on Rona we should look at our general fitness. You do not need to be a member of SAGE to look around the average group of divers to see that this is not an activity that attracts athletes. As professional divers we need to have a medical every year, like it or not this plots our BMI, lung function and general fitness year on year (having many years of these is not necessarily a pleasing sight). For divers out there that are concerned about resuming diving during, and after the Cov-19 pandemic I believe there could be a lot of positives to come out of an in-depth diving medical.
The tests taken will likely highlight any potential breathing problems/chest complications that could pose a problem whilst diving and may be the legacy of a positive Rona test, an asymptomatic event or something altogether unrelated.
The tangible upside might be that it gets more divers moving more which can only be good for divers and diving. So, grab your bike, boots or trainers and get moving, chances are it will help on a multitude of fronts.
Photo: Heian Maru telegraph