Indirect effects of COVID-19 on the environment: How deep and how long?

Sci Total Environ. 2022 Mar 1:810:152255. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152255. Epub 2021 Dec 10.


Although the World Health Organization (WHO) announcement released in early March 2020 stated there is no proven evidence that the COVID-19 virus can survive in drinking water or sewage, there has been some recent evidence that coronaviruses can survive in low-temperature environments and in groundwater for more than a week. Some studies have also found SARS-CoV-2 genetic materials in raw municipal wastewater, which highlights a potential avenue for viral spread. A lack of information about the presence and spread of COVID-19 in the environment may lead to decisions based on local concerns and prevent the integration of the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 into the global water cycle. Several studies have optimistically assumed that coronavirus has not yet affected water ecosystems, but this assumption may increase the possibility of subsequent global water issues. More studies are needed to provide a comprehensive picture of COVID-19 occurrence and outbreak in aquatic environments and more specifically in water resources. As scientific efforts to report reliable news, conduct rapid and precise research on COVID-19, and advocate for scientists worldwide to overcome this crisis increase, more information is required to assess the extent of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the environment. The goals of this study are to estimate the extent of the environmental effects of the pandemic, as well as identify related knowledge gaps and avenues for future research.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Environment; Municipal sewage; Sustainability; Water.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Ecosystem
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Wastewater


  • Waste Water