Will ending Lockdown actually help Mumbaikars?

Lockdown is reducing social distancing for nearly half the population in Mumbai

Greater Mumbai has 5.2 m people living in Slums. The next highest is in Hyderabad at 2.3 m. Delhi Metro Area is 3rd highest at 1.78 m. Bangalore has 0.7 m. With large number of people living in slums, social distancing, access to healthcare and contact tracing becomes extraordinarily difficult.

Hindustan Times Reported yesterday that

659 of the 684 containment zones in the city of Mumbai live in slums and chawls, these densely populated areas and small tenements

A combination of a large number of people living in slums and chawls unmatched by any city in the other country is one of the biggest reasons for high incidence of COVID-19 in Mumbai.

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 because these are apartment sizes, not slums)

  • Mumbai comes to 110 Sqft per person
  • Pune comes to 143 Sqft per person
  • Bangalore comes to 325 Sqft per person
  • Delhi comes to 290 Sqft per person

If one applies the 6 feet rule, if someone gets COVID in an household in Mumbai, they can’t maintain the 6 feet distance. While the Govt has not published statistics, it should not surprise anyone if Mumbai has the highest within household transmission. In Bangalore, people get 10 feet distance, in Delhi more than 9.5 feet. Asymptomatic cases in particular would spread far more easily in Mumbai than any other State given the lack of personal space.

Removing lockdown will actually improve social distancing but only under one condition

Locals and Metro will have to run with 20% of the passengers they carried before COVID-19. There are ways to manage this but will need lot of effort.

So if Mumbai manages social distancing effectively (In the streets and in public transport) along with mandatory wearing of masks, the city is better off ending Lockdown.