Covid NSW: 415 new cases as state hits vaccination milestone

·4-min read
  • NSW reports 415 new cases of coronavirus and four deaths

  • State has hit vaccine milestone of 5 million first doses

  • Stark warning about false sense of security as vaccine rates rise

Authorities are warning NSW is at a “fork in the road” in the battle against the highly-infectious Delta variant after the state recorded more than 400 Covid-19 cases for the second consecutive day.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian described the 415 new infections as a “welcome drop” after the state endured the biggest spike since the pandemic began on Saturday, with cases surging to 466.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (right) speaks next to NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant during a press conference in Sydney, Sunday, August 15, 2021. Source: AAP
NSW has recorded more than 400 Covid-19 cases for the second consecutive day. Source: AAP

“I mean, I know that one day’s numbers is not a trend but it is 50 less cases than yesterday," Ms Berejiklian said.

“But obviously much more work is to be done. We just ask everybody to please stick to the rules, stay home, get tested if you have symptoms, stay home again until you get the results, and of course come forward and get vaccinated,” she said.

But Ms Berejiklian said the situation could easily get out-of-control if the health orders aren't followed.

"Delta doesn't leave any room for error. Even a handful of people doing the wrong thing creates absolute havoc," she said. 

"The vast majority are doing the right thing. But if too many people make the wrong choices, we could be on a trajectory of thousands of cases per day, which is what happens around the world, and we can't afford to do that, because it would mean more deaths, more hospitalisation and more stress on our system."

A further four people have died from the virus, taking the outbreak's death toll to 48.

Vaccines not 'silver bullet' in path out of lockdown

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said vaccinations are only "part of the solution” as the state reached a new milestone of 5 million first doses.

“But there is no silver bullet and vaccination is not a silver bullet. It is a tool. And vaccination alone will not get us out of this situation,” Dr Chant said.

“We need to follow the public health orders, and my message to everyone is, let's redouble our efforts for the next couple of weeks. Get those case numbers down. Stay at home.”

Dr Chant raised concerns about people being lulled into a false sense of security, explaining the rapid rise in vaccinations won't have an immediate impact on daily case numbers. 

"We would not expect any significant effect and it is really important because just because you are vaccinated, it doesn't mean that you can immediately, that you are immediately productive. You need about two weeks, two to three weeks following vaccination to have any effect," Dr Chant said. 

"But vaccination is part of the solution. It helps us because if the person is vaccinated, there is less chance that they get the disease particularly if they have had two doses. And therefore, it means are less likely to pass it to others. And also less likely to need hospital care and admission to intensive care."

Tradesmen and women stand in a line wearing face masks as they wait to be vaccinated at the Sydney Olympic Park Vaccination Centre at Homebush in Sydney, Sunday, August 15, 2021. Source: AAP
There are long queues at the Sydney Olympic Park Vaccination Centre at Homebush. Sourve: AAP

Dr Chant pleaded with residents to stay at home, after the entire state was plunged into lockdown yesterday.

"We are a fork in the road and we have to decide what path we will choose. The path I want is one where I see declining case numbers and increasing vaccination uptake."

Ms Berejiklian has set an ambitious vaccine target for NSW to hit 6 million jabs by the end of August, which would mean roughly half the state's population would have one or two doses.

NSW must learn to live with virus

The Premier has confirmed she's given up on eliminating the virus from NSW. 

"Our aim is to have case numbers as low as possible and to have vaccination rates as high as possible," she said. 

"The experience of Delta is that no other jurisdiction has been able to eliminate it. It's not possible to eliminate it completely. We have to learn to live with it."

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