Coronavirus Update for Skydivers

There is a lot of information and misinformation regarding the recent coronavirus outbreak, so we at Silicon Valley Skydiving & Silicon Valley would like to share some knowledge and help keep you informed. Here are some important facts and resources regarding coronavirus disease 2019.

How does coronavirus affect skydiving operations?

Good question. As with everywhere else in the world, Silicon Valley Skydiving & Silicon Valley is taking CDC-recommended precautions to avoid the spread of this novel (new) coronavirus, and prevent cases of COVID-19. Here’s how this might affect you.

If you are jumping at Silicon Valley Skydiving & Silicon Valley, expect similar restrictions to commercial air travel and regional guidelines. These depend on where you’ve been and how long since you returned. The outbreak is more severe in some countries, for which the Center for Disease Control has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (ongoing, widespread transmission). Chances are if you’ve been to one of these areas you’ve already been asked to stay home for at least 14 days since the day you departed.

Level 3 Travel Health Notice is in effect in these countries: China, Iran, South Korea, and much of Europe (click for full list, or scroll to bottom). [1]

Anyone traveling or returning from an active transmission area (an area with Level 3 Travel Health Notice) will not be allowed to board the plane within 14 days of their arrival, so we ask that if you fall into this category, please schedule your jump on a date that falls after the 14-day minimum. If you come in for a skydive and it has not been 14 days since you returned, we will help you reschedule to a later date.

Skydiving When You’re Sick

Let’s shed a little bit of light on why you should not skydive if you’re feeling under the weather, pandemics and outbreaks aside (for now). When rapidly changing altitude (i.e. falling to the earth at terminal velocity), the air pressure changes fast. Our inner ears need to maintain an equilibrium, balancing air pressure inside the inner ear with the external force of outside air pressure.

As you go up in a non-pressurized aircraft (if you’re skydiving, you’re in an unpressurized cabin), the differential of thicker to thinner air creates a push from inside your ears to outside as the two try to equalize. As you descend from thinner air back to thicker, the push is reversed. Knowing all this, it’s pretty obvious that to do this successfully, your ears need to be clear!

Skydiving with a head cold or any other kind of congestion is a recipe for a superbly, extremely, completely bogus experience. When you skydive with sinus issues or a head cold and your ears cannot clear, you end up with two possible ugly outcomes:

1: If you have the sniffles, your body will attempt to correct the blockage by emptying your sinuses in freefall (boogers everywhere). You might want a cleaner video.

2: With more serious blockage, your ears may not clear and an eardrum can burst, leading to a whole new world of Ouch.

So what should we not do? Skydive if we’re sick! [2]

Moving right along…

What is COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019)?

Coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated to COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that can spread between people. It is caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. [3]

What are the effects of coronavirus? [4]

COVID-19 has caused mild to severe symptoms of:

• fever

• cough

• shortness of breath

Who is at risk for catching coronavirus? [5]

Much is still unknown, but early data shows some groups of people can be classified as having increased risk or severe risk. Those with an increased risk of catching COVID-19 include people in close proximity to someone already sick, healthcare workers, or travelers recently returned from an affected area.

Some people are at a severe risk for catching COVID-19. They are: older adults (risk increasing with age), and people with serious medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease. [6]

How likely am I to catch coronavirus? [7]

That depends on your location, but more specifically whether an outbreak is happening there.

The risk of catching coronavirus, at the time of this post, is still low in most places. However there are places around the world where the disease is spreading. People have a higher risk of catching COVID-19 if they live in or visit these areas. Every time a new case is discovered, governments and health officials are taking action. Some have instituted policies and regulations on travel and large gatherings. Make sure to look up and follow local guidelines.

Some countries, including China, have shown that coronavirus outbreaks can be contained and transmission can be stopped. Sadly, outbreaks appear rapidly. It is very important to stay informed of the situation where you are or plan to go. Daily updates on the COVID-19 situation are published by the World Health Organization (“WHO”), which you can find here.[8]

Social Distancing vs. Quarantine or Nothing

(Check out a collection of simulations that show how “social distancing” can slow or halt the progression of coronavirus here!)

I just returned from a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice. What do I do?

If you’ve travelled from an affected area, your movements may be restricted for a couple weeks. The CDC recommends self-health monitoring and the practice of “Social Distancing,” outlined below: [9]

For the 14-day period following your return from an affected territory,

  • Avoid public transportation (that means Uber, Lyft, taxis, buses, trains) and crowded places (malls or movie theaters for example), generally limit public activities.

  • Keep your distance (about 2 meters/6 feet from a person).

  • No handshakes, kisses, hugs, or high-fives. We know, it’s hard for us too.

  • Take your temperature with a thermometer twice daily, monitor for fever. Watch out for symptoms.

  • Stay home! Do not go to work or school during this period.

  • Talk with your employer before returning to work.

  • If you notice fever, coughing, or begin to have trouble breathing, call your healthcare provider first. Describe your travel history and symptoms and they will tell you how to get care without exposing other people.

While sick, act the same as if you have a common cold and don’t want to spread it.

When does coronavirus require medical care? [11]

About 80% of people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment or hospitalization.[12] Some of those infected may develop nasal congestion, runny nose, aches and pains, sore throat or diarrhea. If you have a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, then you should seek medical attention.

Is there a cure for coronavirus?

At this time, there is no known cure or vaccine for coronavirus, although possible treatments and vaccines are being tested in clinical trials. The most effective ways to prevent transmission and infection are to frequently wash your hands with soap and water, cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue, and stay at least six feet away from someone who is sneezing or coughing. People with symptoms should receive care, and those who have or develop illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover with supportive care. [1]

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is not new. You may have heard the term “novel coronavirus,” which means that it’s a new strain. The viral outbreak currently saturating the news is the third instance of human-affecting coronavirus in recent history, after MERS and SARS. It has been named SARS-CoV-2, and what it can lead to, “coronavirus disease 2019,” is commonly shortened to COVID-19.

Coronavirus refers to a large family of viruses common in people and different animal species, including bats, cats, camels, and cattle. In rare cases, animal coronaviruses can infect and spread between people, like in the past with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, and more recently the new virus named SARS-CoV-2.

Can I get coronavirus from my cat?

There was one case in Hong Kong where a dog was infected[14], but to date there’s no evidence that any cat, dog, or other pet can transmit COVID-19. The disease is mainly spread via droplets from an infected person’s sneeze, cough, or spoken word. Stay protected by washing your hands with soap and water frequently, for a minimum of 20 seconds each time. If soap is not immediately available, use hand sanitizer with no less than 60% alcohol, then wash with soap when you find some. [15]

What will not help?

Antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections, do nothing to combat viruses like COVID-19. Smoking increases your risk of catching or transmitting respiratory illness. Wearing multiple masks will not help. Avoid touching your face and mouth. Protective gloves are a transmission vector; they will not help if you touch things with them afterward. Hand sanitizers with less than 60% alcohol are ineffective, and in general soap should always be used before hand sanitizer. [16] Here’s a great article on how to properly wash your hands.

Do you know any coronavirus jokes?

Chances are, you might not get it.

Do you know any good coronavirus jokes?


OK, so we’re not comedians. But we are excellent skydivers, and it’s time for you to BOOK YOUR SKYDIVE.

Blue skies,



Full list of countries and areas with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (active widespread transmission): [17]

  1. China

  2. Iran

  3. South Korea

  4. Austria

  5. Belgium

  6. Czech Republic

  7. Denmark

  8. Estonia

  9. Finland

  10. France

  11. Germany

  12. Greece

  13. Hungary

  14. Iceland

  15. Italy

  16. Latvia

  17. Liechtenstein

  18. Lithuania

  19. Luxembourg

  20. Malta

  21. Netherlands

  22. Norway

  23. Poland

  24. Portugal

  25. Slovakia

  26. Slovenia

  27. Spain

  28. Sweden

  29. Switzerland

  30. Monaco

  31. San Marino

  32. Vatican City