Wedding in India emerges as super-spreader of COVID-19: groom dead, 113 positive
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The wedding took place in a rural area of Patna, a city in the northeast part of the country, on June 15, according to Indian media reports.
Since then, more than 100 people who attended the wedding have tested positive for COVID-19, with 113 being reported by The Indian Express on July 1. As part of contact tracing efforts, more than 360 people have since been tested in neighboring areas. Reports indicate that the bride did not test positive.
According to Indian Express, the groom is a software engineer working in Gurgaon. the 30-year-old arrived at his village in Paliganj in the last week of May for the wedding. A relative said, “Even though he was feeling unwell by June 14 and wanted the wedding deferred, family heads from both sides advised against it, citing huge financial losses if the arrangements had to be cancelled.”
Another relative, who attended the wedding and tested negative, said that since so many days had passed since the 30-year-old’s arrival, and he had been keeping well all along, no one suspected Covid-19. “As rural areas are almost Covid-free, we were relaxed,” the relative said.
By the day of the wedding, the engineer was running high temperature. The relative said they were concerned but “prayed that it was not Covid infection”. “He performed all the pre-wedding functions after taking paracetamol.”
A medic in takes a swab sample from a man to test for COVID-19, at Hotel Patliputra Ashok in Patna, in India's Bihar state, June 20, 2020.SANTOSH KUMAR/HINDUSTAN TIMES/GETTY
On June 17, as his condition worsened, the family rushed the 30-year-old to AIIMS, Patna, but he died on the way. It was after the family had cremated him that someone tipped off the district authorities.
All close relatives who attended the wedding were tested on June 19, and 15 tested positive. Between June 24 and 26, a special camp in the village collected samples of 364 people. Of them, 86 tested positive, officials said. On Monday, these numbers were part of the state’s highest single-day spike, of 394 coronavirus cases.
The coronavirus is still spreading rapidly in India, the world's fourth worst affected country by the numbers, with close to 600,000 known cases and more than 17,000 deaths.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a live address Tuesday that the country's coronavirus death rate is under control, but that the country is at a “critical juncture.”
“It is true that if you look at the death rate of corona, then in comparison to many countries of this world, India seems to be in (good) condition,” Modi said, crediting his decision to close down the country to all but essential activity from late March to early June.
But since the lockdown was lifted, the caseload has shot up, making India the world's fourth-worst affected country. While some restrictions remain, many industries and businesses have reopened, and Indians have cautiously returned to the streets.
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