Houses accommodating extended families have emerged as one of the major sources of COVID-19 infections in India, according to The Washington Post (WP) on Sunday. The WP reported that COVID-19 infections among families are on the rise and many of them die at home due to the shortage of hospital beds.
COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in India, whose population is over 1.3 billion. According to Worldometer, India has 698,817 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, up 2.8 times from a month ago. The number of deaths from the virus stands at 19,703. India has become the country with third-most COVID-19 infections in the world following the U.S. (2.98 million) and Brazil (1.6 million).
India has become one of the world’s biggest COVID-19 hotspots due to its extended-family culture. Over half of the deaths from COVID-19 in India have been people aged over 60. Experts told the WP that younger people are easy to transfer the coronavirus to their parents and grandparents when they live under the same roof and cluster infections within families have increased during the lockdown.
Poor living conditions have added fuel to the fire. According to Indian daily newspaper The Hindu, India is on 104th day of lockdown. But quarantine measures are not properly implemented in dirty and crowded slums. The actual COVID-19 cases in the country are estimated to be much higher considering the low testing rates in the country.
India has poor medical infrastructure as hospital beds in New Delhi are only about 10,000, which is far from enough to accommodate patients. The Indian government has set up a medical center, which is about the size of 20 football fields, in Chhatarpur to treat COVID-19 patients, BBC reported.
Foreign Policy reported that New Delhi and Mumbai have become new hotspots of COVID-19 and the actual situation is likely to be more serious considering people without symptoms and low testing rates. The Hindu warned that the situation could become intense if workers who went to their hometown due to the lockdown return to the cities after lockdown restrictions are eased.