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coronavirus and freediving

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
Lots of us dive deep enough to experience negative pressure in the alveoli and/or practice reverse pac negatives with the same result. Normally thats good stress on the alveoli and makes them more resistant to negative pressure (so we can dive deeper with safety). But what about coronavirus? Its worst effects are on the alveoli. If we happen to catch the virus when diving or negatives have stressed the alveoli but before they have recovered, will that cause a worse case of the virus? How about age? I'm 70, and age seems to be an aggravating factor. Does freediving hurt or help? Is it possible that freediving might have positive effects on infection severity? If so, how?

Any of you physiologist types care to take a shoot at these questions?
The virus in general attacks the cilia in the lungs, and if this does not go well for the body the immune response will move towards hyperactive and create further damage to the lungs as it does with severe cases of pneumonia. From what I have read, the virus does not target the alveoli which are largely affected by the hyperactive response gone unregulated by the body. The effect is the lungs becoming inflamed, dried out and in worst cases perforated. The air sacs and blood vessels become more permeable and susceptible to fluid build up and poor oxygenation. The key to not having severe complications is to have a well regulated immune system. A simple step, not a fix, is to have a healthy uptake of vitamin D which is a systemic health issue with city dwellers. Vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection (especially respiratory). ... The immune system defends the body from foreign, invading organisms, promoting protective immunity while maintaining tolerance to self.
Thanks for the vit D suggestion. Its part of my normal regime, but I'll be more diligent. Interesting that the virus targets the cilia. The info I had read suggested the virus directly attacked the alveoli. So much for not checking internet sources more carefully. Its more accurate to say alveoli impacts are hyperactive immune responses. That might mean that my concern about microdamage to the alveoli is off base, but maybe not. Microdamage repair involves the immune system. If its going hyper, and micro damage is present in the alveoli, would that make things worse?
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There are many different things that can go wrong. I have no idea what the virus does after going through the cilia other than finding other cells to infect and reproduce in other areas of the body. If the immune system starts to attack everything including healthy lung tissue it leads to a much longer recovery or compromised lungs. If the immune system response is not strong enough then you get a heavy hitting pneumonia type effect and potentially other bacterial infections will manifest. Too much or ineffective antibiotics will give the same damaging effects, it's all a very delicate balance. At least it does not appear to have any necrotizing effects in the lungs.
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Thanks for your 7BDIVER answer to the CDAVIS colleague's question
I did not know how this virus worked, I am 62 years old
underwater fishing from 12 years
I do not have the infection at the moment, although I have AIDS many years ago accidental hospital contagion
I tried to always be healthy to do my sport 4 days a week. Thanks for the info.


If you have any more recommendations, I would appreciate it.
Gracias por tu respuesta 7BDIVER a la pregunta del compañero CDAVIS
no sabia como funcionaba este virus, tengo 62 años hago pescasubmarina desde los 12 años
no tengo la infección por ahora, aunque tengo SIDA hace muchos años contagio accidental hospitalario
procuré procuro siempre estar sano hacer mi deporte 4 días en semana. Gracias por la información.

Si tienes alguna recomendación mas te lo agradecería.
I’ll add my 2 cents. Just a perspective on numbers. How many have it? Ignore the states and world statistics. US says 4100 infected, 72 dead.
world 181,000 infected and 7122 dead.

my calculations tell a different story.
US 58,000 infected
World 580,000,000 infected. Let me repeat. 580 million have it. 8% of the world right now. If you are in shape enough to dive you are 99.7% chance won’t die even at 70. Stay safe. The problem is those under 25 have no symptoms including kids but give it to elderly who do die.
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My "back of the envelope" calculations come up with similar numbers, if somewhat less. I like your 99.7 number.

Current numbers in the US show 20-25 percent daily growth rate (similar numbers documented in many places during times when control measures have not become effective). At that rate the US is likely to look like Italy in 10 days.

Something especially applicable to us that nobody seems to realize. This bug produces permanent lung damage in a significant number of the cases that survive. The kind of damage that can keep us from diving, not to mention severely restricting other aerobic activities and eventual life span.
Hey Connor! Let us celebrate our continued existence!! Possibly you have another source - The only article I see on permanent lung damage is from a very small study of patients who had been hospitalized in Hong Kong- meaning they'd likely developed pneumonia or, in any case, were part of the subset requiring hospitalization - a not-entirely-uncommon occurrence even with the flu. The study stated that 2 or 3 people out of a group of 12 had problems. By definition this survey is also very short term. Having had pneumonia following a severe flu - it can take quite awhile for the lungs to get back up to speed - longer than could have elapsed for this survey. I don't discount the concern, nor do I doubt this virus is worse than the flu - but the permanent lung damage statement - while not entirely inaccurate - is not that different from saying the same of the flu.
I agree. There won’t be long term lung effects. This is too small and short a study. It will be just like the flu.
Hi Fondue, long time no talk! Still diving?

I sincerely hope both of you are right, and you are right about the size of that study. However, when I combine that study with a little bit of knowledge of how the virus and the immune system interact in the lungs(thanks to this thread and the internet), I think you are wrong.
Those Who Recover From Coronavirus Can Be Left With Reduced Lung Function, Say Doctors


14 MARCH 2020

People who recover after being infected with the novel coronavirus can still be left with substantially weakened lung capacity, with some left gasping for air when walking quickly, doctors in Hong Kong have found.
The Hong Kong Hospital Authority made the findings after studying the first wave of patients who were discharged from the hospital and had fully recovered from COVID-19.

Out of 12 people in the group, two to three saw changes in their lung capacity.

"They gasp if they walk a bit more quickly," Owen Tsang Tak-yin, the medical director of the authority's Infectious Disease Centre, told a press conference Thursday, according to the South China Morning Post.

"Some patients might have around a drop of 20 to 30% in lung function" after full recovery, he said.

Tsang added, however, that patients can do cardiovascular exercises, like swimming, the improve their lung capacity over time.

While it's too early to establish long-term effects of the disease, scans of nine patients' lungs also "found patterns similar to frosted glass in all of them, suggesting there was organ damage," Tsang said, according to the Post.

Current coronavirus patients' CT scans show "ground glass," a phenomenon in which fluid builds up in lungs and presents itself as white patches, as Business Insider's Aria Bendix has reported. The scans below, taken from one coronavirus patient at different points in time, show that the person's "ground glass" became more pronounced as their illness progressed.

(Lei et al., Radiology, 2020)

As of Friday morning, 69,607 people had recovered from COVID-19 out of 128,392 confirmed cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 4,700 people have died of the disease.

The disease appears to affect the elderly or infirm worse than any other demographic, as the outbreak in Italy has shown.

"Among those who are infected, most will recover," the World Health Organisation's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Monday.

The most commonly reported symptoms include a fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath, and some 80% patients will experience a mild illness, according to the WHO.
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Those Who Recover From Coronavirus Can Be Left With Reduced Lung Function, Say Doctors


14 MARCH 2020

People who recover after being infected with the novel coronavirus can still be left with substantially weakened lung capacity, with some left gasping for air when walking quickly, doctors in Hong Kong have found.
Sure am Connor - just got back from Belize 1/20 (right under the virus wall). (Also:Not sure what you are disagreeing with - we should all definitely avoid getting this thing)
Grarena, whats you opinion of the "ground glass" business?
I still think with time that damage will reverse. The body is amazing at healing. There is not enough time to assess. I’d bet anything after a year back to normal or even before.
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Grarena, good to know.

J Cambel.

Spoiler alert: in a previous career, I worked with mathematical models of the effect of fishing on fish populations. Different formula, but real similar in concept to modeling Coronvirus. Identical in the way that one factor swamps all others. In this case, exponential growth of cases.

I ran through it using several types of calculation, data, different starting points and infection rates. Most sensible seemed to assume 500 cases extant for each death and the reported increase in infections/deaths(pre-effective countermeasures) of about 120 per cent. Thats been "published" and seems reasonable if maybe conservative. Start with 30 US deaths reported on 3/2, 120 percent daily growth and things get crazy after April 1, everybody in the country infected before 5/15. Reactions by business, the public and local governments that were not visible on 3/2 are starting to take effect and will substantially slow the epidemic. Unclear how much, but probably not enough to avoid a huge problem.

What modeling also clearly shows is that adopting effective measures, even after the disease is starting to get away from you, works beautifully. China, S Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong are successful examples using different approaches. They will be able to keep infections down to a handleable level until we get a vaccine.
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What do you think Davis about the president time predicting that by August the live will resume to normal and will be no corona virus in US. It’s fair statement or we are going to see it for longer than that.
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