STATEMENT ON COVID-19 FROM AIDA Medical Science Committee
The Medical & Science Committee of AIDA International has been monitoring the situation with COVID-19 since the very beginning of epidemic. Since March 2020, the freediving community have been provided with weekly newsletters and practical recommendations that can be found on the AIDA website: https://www.aidainternational.org/Home/News
We consider that the resolutions made by governments, scientific institutions and national healthcare authorities in each country are the most suitable to make decisions about restrictions around social, public and sporting events in their jurisdictions. We don’t plan to develop any universal recommendations on social behavior (social distancing, mask wearing, number of people in one classroom etc.), because the situation is different for each country and changing rapidly.
Please follow the recommendations issued by your local authorities. If you personally consider applying more self-restrictions, please do that.
In particular, AIDA instructors should strictly follow the local legislation and AIDA requirements about medical certification and liability. Please stay vigilant on possible COVID-19 symptoms, which you or your students may have.
Disease and Freediving
- Abstain from in-water activities during the disease regardless of the level of severity.
- The decision to return to diving after recovery from this disease, in any discipline, is up to the physician who examines you in person and determines you fit to dive after a satisfactory examination. An individual must contact a local physician to ensure that recovery is adequate.
- The Injury of lung tissue caused by this disease can increase the risk of lung barotrauma (“squeeze”). Depth training is not advised by AIDA International until complete clinical, anatomical and functional recovery, as determined by your physician has occurred. The following tests may help to assess respiratory system: CT-scanning of the lungs, FVC, FEV1, PEF25-50-75, RV and FEV1/ FVC. Moreover, due to possible impact on cardiovascular system, 12-lead ECG may also be recommended.
- Packing or reverse packing, residual volume, or functional residual capacity, dry or in-water exercises, are not recommended by AIDA International during this condition or after, until a physician determines a diver is fit to exercise or dive again.
Scarce evidence is available on the long-term effects of this disease on diving/freediving activities. We therefore cannot support or make any statements like “after COVID-19 of X severity, an athlete may return to training in Y months”. The period of recovery from the disease depends on the scale of involvement of different organs and systems which are not always manifested clinically, the health status/ pre-existing diseases and actions/treatment taken within recovery period.
The risk of infection transmission during close contact or CPR, incl. severe diseases like AIDS (HIV-infection) is well-studied and considered very small .
- Minimization of risk
Most important, to pay even more attention to prevention of LMC and BO during trainings and competitions.
Please ensure that you have medical equipment available (bag-mask device with filter and tight seal) which can prevent the direct contact with the victim's airways.
As there are no training or competitions in regions with high and moderate incidence of COVID-19 advice around BTT is not required, however in countries who are passed the pandemic, the risk to be infected via BTT is extremely low. Nevertheless, taking into consideration more social and psychological issues than medical and epidemiological ones, we will not insist on using BTT during the pandemic, taking in consideration that BTT is not confirmed as life-saving procedure.
During the whole 2019, the Medical & Science Committee of AIDA International received no reports about CPR being performed by instructors or safety divers during training or competition.
Legal and technical issues of CPR should remain unchanged but proper precautions should be taken. Please
- use personal protection device, e.g. a face shield that completely covers the sides and front of the face to avoid contraction of a disease
- limit personnel in the room or on the scene to only those essential for patient care
- provide rescue breathing using bag-mask device with filter and tight seal .
 Studies have found that there is a very low risk of contracting infectious diseases. American Academy of CPR & First Aid, Inc.
 Dana P. Edelsonet al, Interim Guidance for Basic and Advanced Life Support in Adults, Children, and Neonates With Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19: From the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee and Get With the Guidelines®-Resuscitation Adult and Pediatric Task Forces of the American Heart Association in Collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for Respiratory Care, American College of Emergency Physicians, The Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists, and American Society of Anesthesiologists: Supporting Organizations: American Association of Critical Care Nurses and National EMS Physicians. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.047463