All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Dr Randeep Guleria on Wednesday said that “super-spreader” events during the festival season may have contributed to the rise in new coronavirus cases in Delhi, ANI reported.

The national Capital reported the biggest single-day jump with 8,593 new cases on Wednesday, according to a health bulletin released by the Delhi government. As many as 85 deaths were reported in a single day, taking the toll to 7,228. The toll was also the second-highest figure recorded by the city. It reported a higher number of deaths on June 16 with 93 fatalities.

“Three times more tests are being done now as compared to the last peak...It is clear this is the third wave,” Health Minister Satyendar Jain told reporters.

Guleria said heavily crowded markets may have acted as “super-spreader spots” – where many people may have been infected.

“What happens is if in a crowd one does not wear mask, one person who may be asymptomatic and is highly infectious, he can spread the disease to a large number of people in the crowd,” Guleria told ANI. “If they get the disease, they will take it to the area they go to, their own family members, their relatives and they will again spread the disease. So you can have super spreading events, and it is likely that this has happened in Delhi. There were crowds, people did not take precautions and they were super spreading events and this led to an increase in the number of cases.”

The AIIMS director urged people to be cautious and wear masks at all times. “We are seeing an increasing surge of cases in Delhi, and the numbers are increasing with time,” he added. “The number of cases had come down to 2,000 from 4,000, and now they are going upwards of 7,000 and up to 8,000 in a day, this is also reflected in increased hospital admissions and to some extent in mortality.”

Guleria said the change in temperature, deteriorating air pollution levels in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic also call for more precautions. “What it means is we need to make sure there is no crowding, people wear masks when they are in markets or functions where there is crowd,” he stressed.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up the Aam Aadmi Party government for relaxing restrictions in the city, even as it was witnessing a rise in new cases. “The daily rates are mind-boggling,” the court said. “What has the Delhi government done? Particularly when you’ve taken decisions to unlock in every which manner. We’re concerned not just as a court but as citizens. Numbers have shot up through the ceiling.”