Terrifying graph reveals why you should be worried about Sydney’s latest coronavirus outbreak – as experts reveal why it could be WORSE than the last wave
- In just 19 days, New South Wales had 188 new locally-acquired Covid cases
- That is a third of the 552 cases in the state between July and October 2020
- The Berala BWS outbreak in western Sydney has been linked to 13 Covid cases
- This is so far below 60 cases linked to Casula’s Crossroads Hotel in July, August
- UNSW’s Raina MacIntyre said summer holiday factors could make this worse
Western Sydney’s latest Covid outbreak at a bottle shop could end up being a lot worse than the last wave of infections that rocked the city in July and took three months to get under control.
So far, the Berala BWS liquor store has been connected with 13 cases, following a visit there by a patient transfer worker who had transported a family of returned overseas travellers to a health clinic.
Those numbers at the bottle shop near Auburn and Lidcombe are still much lower than the 60 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel at Casula, in Sydney’s outer south-west, during July and August.
Nonetheless, the Berala cluster and the separate Avalon outbreak on Sydney’s Northern Beaches have taken the New South Wales Covid tally since December 17 to 188.
That early but ever-changing snapshot is 20 more than the equivalent 19 days after July 10, when the first case was detected at the Crossroads, an analysis by covid19data.com.au creator and digital journalist Juliette O’Brien found.
An early but ever-changing snapshot of NSW shows locally acquired cases since December have been 20 more than the equivalent 19 days after July 10, when the first case was detected at the Crossroads
Western Sydney’s latest Covid outbreak at a bottle shop could end up being a lot worse than a winter outbreak at an outer suburban highway hotel. Pictured is the BWS bottle shop at Berala
Between July and November 2020, Australia’s most populous state recorded 552 locally-acquired cases of Covid-19, but they were not all linked to the Crossroads Hotel outbreak.
In less than three weeks, the 188 equivalent active coronavirus cases in NSW is more than a third of what took four months in 2020, noting days without new cases in late October.
Concern is warranted with 1,000 customers visiting the BWS on Christmas Eve alone among the tens of thousands who bought their beer, wine and spirits there during the last week of 2020.
Epidemiologist Professor Raina MacIntyre, the head of biosecurity research at the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute, said summer seasonal factors were a danger when the Berala case was compared with Casula.
‘The factors which may pose a risk for a larger outbreak are the timing in the holiday season, New Year’s Eve and all the social mixing that occurs at this time,’ she told Daily Mail Australia on Monday.
‘We should have a better idea by the end of this week whether this outbreak is growing or coming under control.’
In July and August, the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney’s south-west was linked with 60 new Covid cases
Still, she said it was still too early to forecast the Berala outbreak being worse than the Casula situation during winter.
‘The Berala outbreak, which is distinct from the Northern Beaches outbreak, is smaller than the Crossroads outbreak at this stage, and direct comparisons cannot be made until this outbreak is over,’ she said.
Professor MacIntyre pointed out the van driver connected to the Berala outbreak was initially reported as not having infected anyone between December 16 and 18 but this turned out to be incorrect, following genetic sequencing confirmation.
Both outbreaks had a connection to a transport worker.
In 19 days, New South Wales has been home to 188 locally-acquired Covid cases, when Avalon and Berala were factored in. Between July and November, the state was home to 552 cases starting with the Crossroads Hotel at Casula
The Crossroads Hotel, on the Hume Highway at Casula, was connected to a freight industry worker from Melbourne who wasn’t a truck driver shortly before Melbourne’s five million residents were forced into a strict, Stage Four lockdown that last from early August until late October.
The Berala BWS was a Covid danger zone for up to nine hours a day between December 22 and New Year’s Eve, with the liquor store closed only on Christmas Day.
Most customers who visited the bottle shop during the Christmas period are now considered close contacts and need to isolate for 14 days even if they only attended the outlet for a short time.