“In particular, we know that people value their freedoms: their desire to return to work; their desire to engage in community life. And these are the kinds of incentives we’ll be looking at in the next few days. “

Tray possible

News that Berejiklian, who also said “it’s really important for us to manage expectations”, considers life after the lockdown may not be as important as his decision to report it.

There were 199 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Tuesday – the first time the daily count has been conducted by one in four days.

Even as the number of new cases circulating in the community has risen from 72 to 82, Berejiklian and chief health worker Kerry Chant have lost the grim courage of the past week.

“There was clearly a plateau last week,” said Berejiklian.

The experts did not disagree. A coronavirus bear, University of South Australia epidemiologist Adrian Esterman, has reported that the rate of infection is slowing.

“We could see the start of a peak – but it will take us another three or four days to really find out,” he said.

Forecast failure

To the delight of libertarians, Berejiklian appeared to step away from all-out war on a virus that consumed society for 18 months, and epidemiologists and economists who overestimated its virulence.

“If we relax 50%, what level of deaths or hospitalizations do you think is reasonable for NSW?” she was requested by The Guardian.

“We would never slack off completely with vaccination rates of 50 percent,” she replied. “But each step taken gives the government more options.

“Similar modeling told us we would have up to 500 cases today and we’re at 199. So modeling has its place and there are different models.”

Some 60,000 people die each year in New South Wales. Berejiklian said she would never agree to “unnecessary” deaths. Once vaccinations reach 70 to 80 percent of the population, “that’s a different proposition,” she added, and mentioned that mental health was as important as physical health.

Chant, who is largely responsible for confining some 6 million people to boredom at home, which presumably imposes a mental health cost, sounded surprisingly optimistic.

After describing COVID-19 as a “very serious illness” for weeks on end, on Tuesday, she was ready to make a comparison that could lead a layperson to scathingly retort on Facebook.

“What will happen is it will be a bit like the flu, after all,” she said. “It will throw a few curved balls at us and we will have to keep getting vaccinated.”

“Vaccine manufacturing has really improved a lot, because we now have mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna, and I understand that they can actually be changed quite quickly – much like the flu vaccine that changes every year.

“So that gives us hope that we can stay one step ahead of the virus. “

Curved bullets are very different from the “national emergency” Chant reportedly declared on July 23 when NSW reported what was then a shocking 139 cases.

For Greater Sydney, this can mark the end of the beginning.

From the gallery David Rowe