COVID-19 clusters are growing in number across Sydney: will NSW follow Victoria into a coronavirus second wave?(AAP: David Gray)ShareFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsAppPrint contentPrint with images and other mediaPrint text onlyPrintCancelVictoria and New South Wales may be accustomed to parochial interstate rivalries, but when it comes to combating coronavirus, the stakes have never been higher.Just as we thought the pandemic gripping global shores was in a lull, the nation has once again found itself at an uncomfortable crossroads.As Victoria grapples with the fallout from close to 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has conceded her state is at a "critical point".It is, in many ways, a tale of two cities: Sydney and Melbourne, both faced with a sudden resurgence of the virus, and both dealt the unenviable task of trying to contain the spread.Health authorities recorded another 20 coronavirus cases in NSW on Monday, including several linked to known Sydney clusters and fresh outbreaks appearing almost every day.As NSW residents watch and wait, many feel rising concern that the state is a ticking time bomb, about to follow Victoria into a second-wave lockdown. NSW health authorities are dealing with an outbreak linked to the Crossroads Hotel.(AAP: Joel Carrett)What are the risk factors?While socially distinct, there are few inherent differences in the geographical features of Sydney and Melbourne that predict an outbreak says Hassan Vally, an epidemiologist and associate professor at LaTrobe University.Victoria COVID-19 snapshotConfirmed cases so far: 5,942Confirmed active cases: 2,913Recovered patients: 2,933Deaths: 39Suspected cases of community transmission: 1,060Cases in hospital: 147Intensive care patients: 31Healthcare workers infected: 429 (164 active cases)Tests since pandemic began: More than 1.3 millionUpdated Monday, July 20Both are dense metropolitan centres with similarly-sized populations, and while the latter may face additional challenge of a colder climate ("We're indoors more, so that could lead to more transmission," Vally says), it is unlikely to be a major contributor."I think the biggest driver for an epidemic is the fact that you have a population that isn't immune," Vally offers. "So even if you have some sort of seasonal effect, I don't think that's a major driver."This isn't good news for Sydneysiders who also lack herd immunity.Differences in the public health response, however, could provide a greater insight into the ability (or inability) of either state to limit the spread. And to date there is one key difference that gives some hope that Sydney and NSW may avoid Victoria's predicament: community transmission,
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