The latest data released by NSW health authorities have revealed definitive proof that lockdowns and physical distancing measures have been effective in fighting the coronavirus. ‘Flattening the curve’ was the objective, and flattened the curve we have, with NSW setting new records twice this week for the lowest daily increase in new Covid-19 cases since social restrictions were first introduced: six new cases on April 20 and 21 respectively, and just five new cases on April 22.
This downward trend is even more encouraging as it has emerged as testing regimes across the state have been expanded. Between 4,000 and 5,000 people are now being screened daily across ‘hot spot’ suburbs and other locations in NSW where clusters of infections have been identified. Chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant said in the April 22 media briefing that testing could soon be rolled out statewide, subject to certain testing sites being scaled up, to begin ‘proactive testing’ of the general population. However, she did not say when this might commence.
However, three more deaths were also logged between April 21 and 22, of patients between the ages of 70 and 91. This further highlights the need for ongoing social restrictions, as Covid-19 continues to be particularly dangerous for older people. There are, however, some signs from the government that certain regulations could be relaxed or lifted in the coming weeks. On April 21, the prime minister announced that some elective surgeries would once again be allowed to go ahead, and schools will begin a staggered reopening from the third week of the coming term, from May 10.