A respiratory physician at a major hospital in Sydney's west has written a stark op-ed in The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, declaring that NSW "is almost certainly on the precipice of a massive deterioration".
In the piece, the doctor – who remained anonymous due to area health service restrictions on employees providing commentary – wrote that they are "gravely concerned about the NSW government's ineffective response to the Delta outbreak".
"Contact tracers are overwhelmed, with reporting of infection hot spots lagging by days. The whole strategy of relying on contact tracing for infection control is failing, or indeed has failed," they wrote.
A record 356 new community infections were recorded in NSW today, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian remains adamant that further restrictions aren't necessary.
In the SMH, the doctor warns that NSW "relying on achieving sufficient vaccination rates to allow society to progressively reopen" will take time.
And, "as a result, overseas evidence strongly indicates the Delta variant will continue to wreak havoc with untold numbers of infections, hospitalisations, ICU admissions and death".
In order for a "great level of Covid elimination", "the failures of the current lockdown must be overcome".
"The NSW government must urgently re-establish trust through advertising in multiple languages. Use local leaders in the community, social media influencers via residents' children and grandchildren, and even beloved local sporting personalities," the doctor wrote.
"Above all, affected communities must be supported. A large part of the solution to breaking this cycle is financial."
Along with 356 new local infections, NSW health officials today reported four more Covid-related deaths: a woman in her 80s, two men in their 80s and a man in his 70s. All had not been vaccinated.
Of the new infections, up to 254 were infectious in the community for at least part of their infectious period, including 57 who were in the community for all of their infectious period, 40 who were in the community for part of their infectious period, and 157 which are still being investigated.
NSW Health said there are now 357 Covid patients in hospital, including 60 in ICU.
The vast majority of NSW is now in lockdown, with residents of Greater Sydney, Tamworth, Armidale and Byron Bay subject to stay-at-home orders. That's around 6.5 million people, or about 80 per cent of the state.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard today blamed lockdown rule-breakers for the state's worsening outbreak, saying authorities "can't legislate against stupidity, arrogance and entitlement".
"If people applied the rules, if they complied with the rules and law and applied an element of common sense and modicum of decency to the rest of the community, we would be fine," he said.