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Bondi outbreak outstrips Crossroads Hotel infections 10 days after first case

The Bondi COVID-19 cluster has overtaken the Crossroads Hotel outbreak that came before it, as Greater Sydney prepares to join the eastern suburbs and go into a two-week lockdown from 6pm on Saturday.

As it stands from Saturday’s data provided by covid19data.com.au, which is run by a former Herald journalist, there are 82 COVID cases associated with the Bondi cluster on day 10 (Friday), compared with Crossroads Hotel’s 65.

Avalon’s outbreak – including subsequent outbreaks, such as the Croydon and BWS Berala clusters – had 126 at the same point in time of its outbreak.

Outbreaks compared – now and then

However, the good news is that unlinked cases are much lower than Crossroads at this stage. The bad news is that Sydney is now dealing with the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is more transmissible.

“The transmissibility is at least double previous variants that we’ve seen,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Saturday, referring to health expert advice she’d received. “We’re finding that all household contacts, unfortunately, are getting the virus.”

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While the graphs do not provide a prediction or expected trajectory, they do provide context that allows readers to further understand why the state government has decided to take the action it has on Saturday – to lockdown Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Central Coast for a fortnight.

Under each lockdown, various factors have been at play such as varying degrees of restrictions. The latest lockdown had the least restrictions in place before further restrictions were applied.

The assumptions made in the data are that the Bondi cluster began on June 17 this year, the Crossroads Hotel cluster on July 10, 2020, and the Avalon cluster on December 17, 2020.

The data shows that the Bondi cluster matched the Crossroads Hotel outbreak on Wednesday (day eight; 45 cases) and began to overtake it on day nine (Thursday, 53 v 67). On day 10, Bondi’s caseload began to outstrip Crossroads.

Unlinked cases – now and then

Meanwhile, another graph from covid19data.com.au tracks unlinked cases in all three outbreaks. As you can see below, there are fewer unlinked cases in Bondi’s outbreak compared to the Crossroads cluster.

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What’s different about Saturday, though, is that the Premier did not reveal new COVID-19 cases that were recorded between 8pm on Friday and 11am on Saturday like she did for Thursday and Friday. It was these numbers we were able to use in our national news blog on Friday to paint a picture of what day 10 (Friday) was starting to look like in terms of the total COVID-19 caseload NSW Health was dealing with.

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Now we have the full picture of day 10, but we don’t know what day 11 (Saturday) is starting to look like yet.

“The best advice we have from Dr Chant and the health experts is that we should brace ourselves for more cases,” Ms Berejiklian said on Saturday.

“We do need to brace ourselves for a potentially larger number of cases in the following days and that’s why it’s so important that we take action now.”

NSW Health started calling Bondi a cluster in a media release on Saturday, June 19 (seven days ago), but the department’s first exposure warning for Bondi Junction’s Westfield shopping centre was for Saturday, June 12 onwards (14 days ago).

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