There are growing fears that a coronavirus outbreak in Sydney will be much worse than the last serious wave of infections.
A graph plotting the current pattern of daily cases, compared to the Crossroads Hotel cluster in July, shows a much steeper rate of growth this time around.
Monitoring website Covid19data.com.au presented the numbers in a graph.
When placed side-by-side, it’s obvious the current daily cases during the this outbreak are higher and rising more quickly than in the previous outbreak.
There are already 188 cases as of Day 18 of the December outbreak, compared to 155 at the same point during the July outbreak.
When Sydney last had 155 active cases, it took more than three months to get back to consecutive days of zero local cases being reported.
NSW reported eight new coronavirus cases on Sunday.
Leading epidemiologist and World Health Organisation advisor Professor Mary-Louise McLaws described the volume of active cases as “enormous”.
“That’s a number we haven’t had for months, since way back when we were seeded by the Victorian second wave,” Professor McLaws told ABC News.
“When we got to this number, it took months to get to zero.”
A raft of new restrictions have been introduced in a bid to get on top of the outbreak, including the use of mandatory face masks in some settings.
Part of the northern beaches – the initial site of the outbreak – also remains in lockdown, and there could be further lockdowns to come.
NSW Acting Premier John Barilaro warned there could be “big numbers” of people potentially at risk of infection from the new Berala cluster in Sydney’s west.
Mr Barilaro also signalled there could be another local lockdown if the situation worsens.
An employee at a BWS store in Berala became infected after interacting with a hotel quarantine transport worker who was a customer.
The staff member then passed it onto a co-worker, and between them they worked every day from December 22 to 31.
Mr Barilaro said that on Christmas Eve alone, more than 1000 customers passed through the store.
“If you look from 22 to 26 December, they could be big numbers, and we will always consider what we can do in relation to a lockdown, further restrictions, especially where there is a hot spot,” Mr Barilaro said on breakfast TV.
“One of the things we said when we were lifting restrictions was that if we had to respond, it would be fast and it would be hard and local, just like we have done for the peninsular.
“There is no reason we couldn’t do that for Berala, Cumberland LGA area, but right now the data says we are on top of it, and I trust the expert advice we are receiving.”