NSW has seen a massive jump in COVID-19 case numbers overnight, seeing our highest number of daily COVID cases in the pandemic so far. I’d invite you to my spiral, but socialising is probably not the way to go right now.

NSW recorded 1,742 COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, breaking the previous peak of 1,603 cases which we hit on September 11 while we were all still under lockdown.

The new numbers are a significant jump from yesterday, where 1,360 cases were recorded, bringing NSW’s daily figure to be higher than Victoria’s for the first time in months.

Currently there are 192 people in hospital with the virus, including 26 in ICU.

Despite that, it looks like NSW is attempting to go ‘back to normal’, with almost all QR code check-ins and mask restrictions eased as of yesterday, a move that was announced months ago when daily cases were significantly lower.

Those that are unvaccinated have also now been granted the same freedoms as everyone else, and travel is back on too.

Speaking to Sunrise on Thursday morning, Minister for Jobs, Investment and Tourism Stuart Ayres said the government would consider localised lockdowns if deemed necessary, but previous government officials’ comments have indicated that NSW will avoid lockdowns if it can.

“Will keep the option open. As we reopen the economy, if we believe it is the right thing to do, that is an option on the table,” he said, per News.com.au.

“This is why we are asking people to do the right thing, be cautious, get your booster shot, that is the most important thing you can do.”

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard warned yesterday the the state could see up to 25,000 COVID-19 cases per day in January, citing modelling from the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The modelling was still being fine tuned, and the algorithms were based on what was happening in the UK and southern Africa, so it’s not 100% yet, but still a worrying glimpse into the future of a relaxed NSW.

“So we may not get to 25,000 cases a day, but we could,” he said, per News.com.au.

This all comes as NSW Premier Dominic Perrotet changed the definition of a close contact to only those that live with or have spent considerable time with a positive COVID case, rather than anyone that’s been in the same venue with a positive case. And with the lack of contact tracing happening now that QR codes are out, well, its not looking great.

Get your booster shots (we have an explainer here), wear a mask and social distance. Stay safe folks.