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Upcoming events


CHARITY DART TOURNAMENT – Royal Oak Orléans is hosting a charity dart tournament in support of the Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre Food Bank in honour of Royal Oak Day. Cost is $10/player, teams are chosen at random and there are prizes to be won! Registration at 12:30 p.m. Game time 1 p.m.

CORO VIVO OTTAWA presents Nibi Water is Life – L’eau, c’est la vie at 7:30 pm at Orléans United Church. This is Coro Vivo’s Spring Concert featuring a commissioned work by the Cree composer Andrew Balfour. Tickets $25 on eventbrite.com or $30 at the door. Children under 14 admitted at no charge.

PINTS FOR POTCAKES from 11 am to 2 pm at the Stray Dog Brewing Company in support of Eastern Ontario Potcake Rescue. Beers, raffle and bake sale. Come out and have a pint while visiting with some adoptable dogs at the Stray Dog Brewing Company, 501 Lacolle Way in the Taylor Creek Business Park.

ORLÉANS FARMER’S MARKET from 11 am to 4 pm in the parking lot at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex on Tenth Line Road featuring local food vendors and producers.

THE ORIGINAL NAVAN MARKET returns to the Navan Fair Grounds from 10 am to 5 pm with more than 150 local vendors and artisans. Come and see why the Original Navan Markey has become on of the most popular outdoor markets in Eastern Ontario.Visit facebook.com/OriginalNavanMarket.

BLACKBURN FUN FAIR returns to Blackburn Hamlet with a carnival style midway, music, local vendors, a used book fair, beer garden and fireworks. For more information visit www.blackburnfunfair.ca.


 



VIEWPOINT: Omicron variant not as scary as you might believe
By Fred Sherwin
Jan. 6, 2022

Here we go again – another variant and another campaign of fear and paranoia with the mainstream media acting as willing accomplices.

Just once, I would like to see our public health officials and mainstream media actually attempt to educate people rather than automatically go for the lowest common denominator. So allow me to provide some information that will help you get a better handle on what’s going on.

First of all, I fully admit that I am not an expert on the subject, but I do spend hours researching the latest scientific findings and studies, something most people don’t have the time to do.

So here’s what we know today. First of all, studies in South Africa, Denmark and Great Britain are indicating that – for the most part – the Omicron variant is not as severe, in terms of it’s symptoms, as previous variants. I say for the most part because people with underlying health conditions are still at risk of ending up in the hospital should they contract the variant, even if they’re fully vaccinated.

This latter point is very important. Public health officials and the mainstream media have done an extremely poor job in explaining to people that we’re all different.

Immune systems are like snowflakes. No one immune system is the same. As such, each reacts to the coronavirus differently. How your immune system reacts to the virus depends on your viral lode which is measured in both duration and concentration.

I go back to the smoking analogy. If you walk past someone who is smoking, the impact on your lungs is minimal because of the lack of both duration and concentration.

On the other hand, if you are stuck in a car with a smoker for several hours the duration and concentration are a 10 out of 10.

If, at the same time, you have a weak immune system you are in serious trouble. If you have a strong immune system you might still get sick, but the symptoms won’t be as bad.

Getting back to the Omicron variant, preliminary studies indicate that the virus replicates much faster in the bronchus 24 hours after infection – which is why it transmits so fast – but is far slower when spreading in the actual human lung tissue, possibly indicating lower disease severity.

The latest report by London’s Imperial College found those infected with Omicron were 40-45 per cent less likely to be admitted to hospital for a night or more, compared with the Delta variant.

Data from Denmark suggests those testing positive to Omicron were three times less likely to be hospitalized, while a major analysis by the UK Health Security Agency finds they are 50-70 per cent less likely to need hospital care.

A study by South Africa’s National Institute For Communicable Diseases, has found suspected Omicron cases were 80 per cent less likely to go to hospital, but the analysis does not account for vaccination status.

None of the studies differentiate between individuals with a strong immune system or weak immune system.

Common sense would dictate that individuals with a weak immune system, or with underlying health conditions, would be more likely to require hospitalization even if Omicron is less severe.

So knowing that Omicron is less severe, why all the fuss? It comes down to critical mass and simple math.

If you have 2,000 cases and a two per cent hospitalization rate, you will end up with 40 people in hospital. If you have 20,000 cases and a one per cent hospitalization rate you will end up with 200 people in hospital. Not a good situation, especially in a province where they haven’t improved our hospital capacity by a single bed since the pandemic began.

The best we can do to avoid hospitalization is to get vaccinated. Don’t fall for the argument that if you’re going to get sick anyway, why get vaccinated? You may not be able to avoid catching the virus, but you can avoid ending up in the hospital.

You can also help ease the pressure on the testing sites and our hospitals by following the simple rule that if you, or someone in your family, is experiencing symptoms stay home, treat the symptoms and you’ll get better over time. But if the symptoms do worsen, drive yourself to the nearest hospital, or call 9-1-1. And most of all remember that this too shall pass.

(If you wish to comment on this or any other View Point column please write to Fred Sherwin at fsherwin@orleansstar.ca)

 

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