A third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is “inevitable” and “imminent”, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said on July 12. The top doctors’ body also warned the state governments against allowing potential “super-spreader” events.
IMA specifically marked its concern over tourism activities, pilgrimages and other forms of mass congregations which have been permitted in a number of states amid the declining coronavirus second wave.
“With the global evidence available and the history of any pandemic, the third wave is inevitable and imminent,” the medical association said in a press release.
The increase in vaccination coverage, along with strict adherence to the COVID-appropriate behaviour for “minimum three months” can mitigate the impact of a potential third wave, it said.
“In many parts of the country both government and public are complacent and engaged in mass gatherings without following COVID protocols,” IMA noted.
“Tourist bonanza, pilgrimage travel, religious fervour all are needed, but can wait for a few more months. Opening up these rituals and enabling people without vaccination to go scot-free in these mass gatherings are potential super spreaders for the COVID third wave,” it added.
IMA also pointed out that the onset of a brutal third wave would annul the minor economic gains that would be made for now by relaxing the COVID-related rules.
“The consequences of treating a patient with COVID in hospital and its impacts on the economy will be much better than the economic loss we suffer from avoiding such mass gathering,” it added.
IMA’s warning comes at a time when violations of safety norms have been reported in a number of tourism-centric states due to the influx of visitors.
Although the country’s per-day COVID-19 count has dipped below 40,000, and the overall infection rates continue to remain under 5 percent, experts have raised concern over the gradual rise in R-number – reproduction value of the coronavirus – which increased to 0.88 between June 20 and July 7. It was measured as 0.78 in the May 15-June 26 period.