'Silver lining': Surging Covid infections could assist NSW lockdown exit

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·News Reporter
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Over the weekend, NSW recorded more than 400 locally acquired Covid-19 cases as hopes of bringing daily infections back down to zero rapidly diminish.

It was the first time during the pandemic NSW had recorded back-to-back days of more than 200 cases.

Yet there was a sense of optimism amid the misery, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian hailing those who have come out for the vaccine in impressive rates.

More than 82,000 people in NSW received the jab in the 24 hours to Saturday evening.

Ms Berejiklian believes such a rate is sustainable and says half a million jabs can be administered every week in what she called "our ticket to freedom".

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has identified August as the month NSW gets vaccinated. Source: Getty
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has identified August as the month NSW gets vaccinated. Source: Getty

"We can turn this around in four weeks," Ms Berejiklian told the state on Sunday, suggesting easing could begin with just half of the population fully vaccinated.

Lockdown exit could happen in just five weeks

The federal government believes the number could be even higher, meaning NSW could ease lockdown in just five weeks by hitting 70 per cent of the population vaccinated, the Australian reported.

Such optimism and talk of an easing in will undoubtedly entice NSW residents to come forward.

But it is the surging case numbers that are also fuelling a desire to get the jab as the threat of the Delta variant wreaking havoc in multiple countries around the world remains a poignant reminder of the devastation that can arise.

Sydney residents are coming forward in huge numbers to get vaccinated. Source: Getty
Sydney residents are coming forward in huge numbers to get vaccinated. Source: Getty

The Delta outbreak in NSW has seen vaccine hesitancy in Australia plummet from 33 per cent to 21.5 per cent in just two months, the Melbourne Institute says.

'Silver lining' to Delta variant spread

The US, like Australia, is also experiencing a Delta variant surge. And while a much larger percentage of its population is fully vaccinated in comparison to Australia, there is still fear over the rampant variant.

And experts believe it is the virus's presence that will continue to drive vaccine rates, which typically slow towards the end of a rollout as the more hesitant residents weigh up their options.

"The silver lining of this is that people are waking up to this and this may be a tipping point for those who have been hesitant," US National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins told CNN.

The NSW government has shifted its focus on vaccinations last month, stressing the importance of vaccinations in exiting restrictions. Ms Berejiklian has set a target of 10 million jabs, with just shy of four million administered so far.

Last week Health Minister Brad Hazzard called anyone who doesn't come forward for a jab when eligible "extremely selfish" and told them to "wake up".

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