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Comparison of Sydney and Melbourne Outbreaks

Sydney and Melbourne Exactly a Year Apart

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The chart above shows the Melbourne in Sydney outbreaks, exactly a year apart. The Melbourne lines start on June 15 2020, and the Sydney ones on June 15 2021.

As we can see, Sydney started out with much more transit activity. At the same point in time last year, both Sydney and Melbourne still had lower activity levels from earlier restrictions, with Melbourne averages climbing to a bit over 40%. Sydney's activity this year prior to the lockdown had been around 80% for a number of months. However, Sydney rapidly converged with Melbourne's stance at roughly the same point in the outbreak.

Hospitalisations in Sydney are growing more slowly than Melbourne's. It seems clear that vaccinations, particularly in nursing homes, are keeping a lid on the serious cases. The incursions into aged care facilities in Sydney petered out quickly, while in last year's Melbourne they spread rapidly instead.

What's vital to note is that Melbourne's trough in transit activity was at around 11% of "reference" period pre-covid. Sydney is currently at 22%. This represents twice the level of activity.

It's not proposed that transit activity is causing higher hospitalisations. Transit activity is being used as a proxy for the strictness of the lockdowns. And, it seems for the moment, Sydney still has some way to go to achieve the level of restrictions in Melbourne last year. There is a tug of war between Sydney's vaccinations and the more infectious Delta variant that is so far resulting in a gentler sloping, but nevertheless rising hospitalisations curve.

About These Images The chart is based on data from Apple's mobility dataset.