The coronavirus might be even more contagious and dangerous than we already think, and one scientist warns a super-risky place to be is near the ocean ... so she's urging folks to stay the hell away ... at least as the Pacific Ocean is concerned.
Kim Prather -- an atmospheric chemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography -- strongly believes that COVID-19 could enter the Pacific and transfer back into the air along the California coast ... possibly infecting anyone still daring to surf, swim or simply take a walk on the beach.
Prather, who lives in San Diego, tells the L.A. Times ... "I wouldn’t go in the water if you paid me $1 million right now."
According to her research ... Prather's found the ocean contains all kinds of pathogens and constantly sprays these particles into the air, but the scary part is -- she believes the coronavirus is light enough to float through the air much farther than we think.
Translation -- social distancing doesn't work with the ocean. Kim drives the point home by saying ... "It’s not going to kill you if you miss a few surfing sessions, but it could if you go out there and get in the wrong air."
Prather's warning comes as the world's scientists are struggling to determine if COVID-19 can spread by more than just sneezes and coughs.
Even Dr. Fauci's publicly hinting the virus might be more airborne than originally believed and suggesting it's a good idea for everyone to cover their faces.
As of now, that's not recommended by WHO or the CDC ... but beaches across the country are closing to keep people from gathering in large groups and possibly infecting each other.
Clearly, Prather thinks the beach should be a no-go for everyone.