‘In a steam train heading towards a cliff’

Greater Sydney's coronavirus crisis has yet to peak with residents across New South Wales warned cases are on track to climb to over 3000 cases per day in just a month, according to one expert.

The situation in NSW was now a "national matter" and a "catastrophe", says Professor Brendan Crabb from the Burnet Institute.

He's now calling for a "reset" to the current lockdown, which is currently in week eight.

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The rising number of cases is largely due to the large number of infectious people moving around within the community, despite tightened stay-at-home orders in place.

The state saw its highest daily rise yesterday with 633 new cases recorded.

"We are in a steam train that is heading towards a cliff, not heading towards a station, which is where we should be going," Professor Crabb told Today.

He predicts cases could even reach 4000 in the next 30 days.

"Last time I spoke on this program, we had 97 cases, 30 days ago. We are now at 600. If we speak again in 30 days, it will be three to 4000 cases.

"That is what we're on track for at the moment. That's a catastrophe from a health point of view. This is when our health system is now straining, really straining. That means health issues, not related to COVID, are deeply affected as well as those related to COVID."

He says the rules need to be made the same across the board before the situation escalates.

"I think we need to draw a line and reset around a program of uniformity, where everything is the same for every person, of clarity, simple set of rules force every person and every business," Professor Crabb said.

"Without this, we face being like Italy was in March 2020. Like the UK was through much of 2020. Like we have seen in places where hospital beds are overflowing and devastating the whole community. That can happen here."

That grim outlook was echoed by Professor Jane Halton, from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

"I was awake half the night worrying about it and thinking about it, as I am sure others have been," Professor Halton told Today.

"Every person who's got this disease is on average transmitting it to 1.3 others, so sadly, the numbers are marching upwards."

People at Manly Beach, Sydney.

Yesterday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said numbers were expected to increase.

"What the data is telling us in the last few days is that we haven't seen the worst of it," she said.

At least 62 of Wednesday's cases were confirmed as infectious in the community.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant explained that every single positive COVID-19 case in the state is passing the virus on to at least one other person.

Transmission among children is a key area of concern as the state's top doctor pushes for vaccinations to be given to those aged over 12.

READ MORE: Blacktown City Council closes all playgrounds, outdoor gyms

Pharmacist Natalie Isaac told Today residents in her area of Edmondson Park, in Sydney's south west, had turned out in droves to the vaccine.

It's one of the only suburbs where 60 per cent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated.

"The response here in Edmondson Park has absolutely been tremendous and I'm so proud of the community for the uptake," Ms Isaac said.

"I have seen a positive change in people's attitudes. I think people are just realising that the vaccine is the way out. For many, the benefits just simply outweigh the risks."

But the high number of cases across the state has promoted the government to suspend all non-urgent elective surgeries across private hospitals from Monday, joining public hospitals which had already banned the procedures.

Health care staff from private facilities would move to support the public network and vaccination rollout.

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