(NBC News) – Worldwide there are an estimated 320,000 deaths from drowning annually, and safety experts worry those numbers could be much higher this year due in part to the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus safety precautions have resulted in closed public pools and beaches without lifeguards.
More than 20 people have drowned in Lake Michigan this year.
“People are going to remote locations where they’re going to be farther away from help, farther away from rescue equipment,” says Dave Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
Safety experts are also concerned about an increase in tragedies closer to home as more families invest in backyard pools.
The American Red Cross is moving their in-person classes on water safety and CPR online during the pandemic, with the message “Reach And Throw – Don’t Go” applying to all bodies of water.
“The last thing we want to do is to have someone who is untrained go into the water and then we end up with more than one victim,” says Red Cross Aqautic Centennial Initiative Director Connie Harvey.
The organization is also reminding people to never swim alone, designate a “water watcher” when kids are present, and that drowning rarely looks like what many expect.
“It’s not yelling or splashing. Typically, it’s fast and it’s silent,” Harvey says.
Read more: https://rdcrss.org/2DruBEe