Health experts say the high temperatures associated with the summer season will not prevent a deadlier fourth wave of COVID-19 from hitting Zimbabwe or the development of more lethal coronavirus variants.
Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive Solwayo Ngwenya told NewsDay that the fourth wave will hit the country in December and January and the public should comply with COVID-19 protocols to avert a potential disaster. He said:
High temperatures that we are recording have no impact on new variants of the fourth wave. What is critical about this virus and its variants is the human-to-human contact.
Once you allow the population to mix and mingle freely, the virus spreads slowly reaching a peak after two to three months, then causing death and pandemonium.
Most people sleepwalk into this phase only to ‘wake up’ when it’s too late. The fourth wave will, unfortunately, be hitting us in December and January when the weather will be hot.
The call to social distance, hand-sanitise, and wear face masks properly must be reinforced.
Meanwhile, the major political parties, ZANU PF and the MDC Alliance have been conducting rallies that have attracted hundreds of people, in some instances bussing people from across the country to attend events in Harare.
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike told NewsDay that political leaders are setting the stage for a fourth wave of the pandemic. Said Rusike:
It is very sad and unfortunate that political parties are disregarding the preventive measures that have been put in place by the government.
What we are seeing at political gatherings are ingredients of the fourth wave of COVID-19 currently brewing at a time when other countries are battling a new mutant Delta variant.
National COVID-19 taskforce chief coordinator Agnes Mahomva refused to comment on political gatherings which she said she was not aware of. She said:
We continue to enforce the COVID-19 regulations and we have law enforcement agents who are guarding against violations of protocols.
I would not comment on political gatherings of which I am not aware.
Several countries in Europe, particularly Russia, are struggling to contain a new wave of coronavirus infections and soaring deaths.
Russia’s national coronavirus task force on Saturday reported 41 335 new cases since the previous day, exceeding the previous daily record of 40 993 from 31 October, reported India Today.