With a four-week lockdown extension confirmed for Greater Sydney, affected NSW residents will now endure 63 days of being confined to their homes.
For the past nearly five weeks in lockdown, the numbers have plateaued a little but they haven't reduced, and there's growing concern they simply won't. The Delta variant is, as NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian keeps reminding us, a "game-changer."
The NSW government, in announcing an extra month in lockdown and 177 new cases, has opted against enforcing stricter rules like Victoria's stage five. They're instead hoping that a localised and targeted approach against eight of the most affected Local Government Areas will have the desired effect.
But as Dr Norman Swan warns, "another month of lockdown won’t make much of a difference unless they strengthen the settings very significantly. Hard to find an epidemiologist who disagrees with that."
Another month of lockdown won’t make much of a difference unless they strengthen the settings very significantly. Hard to find an epidemiologist who disagrees with that. Today’s Coronacast. https://t.co/lwoqDljAm6— Norman Swan (@normanswan) July 27, 2021
As Dr Swan explains on ABC's Coronacast, the government needs to enforce tougher rules more broadly right now, citing Sydney University research that warns that 'for everyday you delay, it could be a week at the other end.'
"You can still travel 10km in Sydney, bring that down to 2.5 or 5km, even if that's just a signal to people that you can't drive halfway across Sydney. Maybe insist on masks outside. Again, we tend not to catch this outside, but it does give people a signal about social distancing and being careful," said Dr Swan.
Even though NSW is leaving restrictions as is, the government has started to shift its language. There's less talk about 'getting back to COVID zero' and more talk of 'getting everyone vaccinated,' suggesting they're moving more towards a plan to try to live with the virus, which is the reality already in place in France and various other countries.