COVID Mumbai: Family members under biggest threat

During the Spanish Influenza in India, very often the first source of spread from a home was the person who cared for the patient, usually a woman (Mother, wife etc). In India overall, data shows that spread within household is huge.

How does Corona Spread in India? Until April 30th Data

  1. Family Members – 25%
  2. Hospitalised Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) patients: 11%
  3. Contacts with Confirmed Cases: 11%
  4. Others – 10%
  5. Don’t know – 44%

Of the cases for which reason is clearly known (Excluding Don’t know), 45% are from another family member. In other words, the chances of getting corona from an infected family member is quite high. The problem is that with 80% of cases not showing symptoms, there is a big chance that we don’t know even that a family member is suffering from corona. Unlike other cities, Mumbai has a few additional problems that makes family transmission very easy.

  1. Greater Mumbai has 5.2 million people living in Slums. With such a large number of people living in slums, social distancing is almost impossible to achieve.
  2. The average size of an apartment in Mumbai is about 530 sq feet, Pune is at 600 sq feet, Bangalore is around 1300 sq feet. The Delhi capital region is around 1390 square feet. The average household size in Mumbai is about 4.5, Pune is 4.2, Bangalore is 4, Delhi is 4.8. When you divide the area by household size (area would actually be even lesser in case of Mumbai and Pune because these are apartment sizes, not slums)
    1. Mumbai comes to 110 Sqft per person
    2. Pune comes to 143 Sqft per person
    3. Bangalore comes to 325 Sqft per person
    4. Delhi comes to 290 Sqft per person

So the chances of in-house transmission is clearly the highest in Mumbai. This hypothesis is backed by reports in Social media where in most homes more than one person is found to be infected by Corona.

There is no easy solution to solve this problem but households with small space for each person and the need to go outside should follow temporary isolation processes. Which means that individuals who have any outside contact should keep their distance from other family members for sometime. This may sound like being paranoid but with hospital space fast running out, this may be a wise thing to do.

Leave a Reply