Being in prison may not be the best place to be during the pandemic as it increases the risk of getting infected due to the close proximity of individuals and the enclosed indoor setting. One in five prisoners in the US has already been infected by the novel coronavirus and the numbers are not getting better.

The Associated Press and the Marshall Project collected data and found appalling numbers. In fact, there are states that already have more than 50 percent of its prisoners infected.

US News & World Report states that there were already 275,000 prisoners who were infected and that more than 1,700 have succumbed. Experts do not see any sign of slowing the spread of the virus in prison. What appalled experts more is that the rate of positive cases among prisoners is four times as high as the population.

Homer Venters, Rikers Island jail complex's former chief medical officer in New York, said that there is a vast undercount. He has done COVID-19 prison inspections more than a dozen times and he revealed that he still encounters facilities wherein when prisoners test positive and get sick, they do not receive any care. As a result, patients tend to get worse

In the Lansing Correctional Facility in Kansas, there were about 5,100 prisoners who contracted the virus. It is considered the third-highest rate in the US. One of its inmates who was recently released, on Westmoreland, revealed that he was living in a dorm that had 100 infected persons, and waking up to find sick men on the floor was already a regular thing.

In another facility, in Arkansas, the number was higher. More than 9,700 prisoners were positive and 50 have already died. The rate of positives in Arkansas was four of every seven.

Coronavirus cases in jail. Photo: Pixabay

What makes it hard to curb the spread was that prisoners could not do the proper social distancing, making it easier to transmit the virus. Since prisoners are mostly in an enclosed facility where ventilation is weak and air can just run in circles, contracting the virus may be easy.