NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian's 11am press conference has become a morning ritual for many, desperate for news about when lockdown restrictions in NSW are likely to end.
Dr Chris Degeling, of the School of Health and Society at the University of Wollongong, says that's understandable.
"We are on a knife's edge in NSW at the moment," he said.
"The new case numbers over the past 24 hours and the number of people infectious in the community are relatively stable.
"The stabilisation of those numbers means the public health measures are working, but it also tells us the measures we've got are only just holding it at bay."
It will still be several days until the numbers show whether harsher restrictions introduced last week made a difference.
If not, the state may have to consider restrictions similar to the most serious lockdown in Melbourne last year, such as only an hour each day allowed for outdoor exercise, and a five-kilometre movement limit.
The key to success is preventing the virus from being transmitted between households.
"The case numbers jump around a lot because each time a member of a household catches it, inevitably everyone they live with gets it four to five days afterwards," Dr Degeling said.
"They're trying to get in front of that to prevent it from jumping from household to household by locking us down."
The new Delta strain of COVID-19 is notoriously difficult to control.
Dr Degeling said if NSW manages to end the outbreak using public health measures it will be one of the first places in the world to do so.
"The lockdowns in western NSW based on one case of community transmission shows they've had to throw out the rulebook, which has been very successful so far and go back to square one," Dr Degeling said.
"To my mind it shows they don't have confidence those old measures will manage the outbreak."
Dr Degeling said it was impossible to predict the length of the current lockdown, but said the work being done to suppress the virus should be celebrated.
"The accuracy of models breaks down when you get down to low case numbers, like ten cases a day," he said.
"They shouldn't be used as predictions, just to inform choices."
Long term, the only way to avoid lockdowns or mass illness is vaccination.
"The key to all of this is if you have an opportunity to have a vaccination, that's not an opportunity to pass up lightly," Dr Degeling said.
"It's not just you who benefits, everyone benefits."
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