COVID-19 and our community… Observations we have made

For those of you who road-tripped from Richmond to the Barrhaven Costco yesterday, this is what you were up against. The line-up to get in the store was about 200 people deep as fire code restrictions limited how many people could be in the store at once. I guess “Avoid crowds” doesn’t count when you want to buy three months worth of toilet paper…

In a time like this in our community, the Manotick Messenger and Richmond Hub see it as our role as your newspaper and information portal to deliver facts. Unfortunately, social media may be great for things like pictures of your cat, what you made for breakfast and where the nearest restaurant is, deals on used furniture, and funny lipsyncing videos. But the lack of accountability and credibility on social media websites often spreads misinformation. As your newspaper in Richmond, we will be doing everything we can to bring you accurate and useful information in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic that is impacting our community.

What we can tell you…

  • COVID-19 was a virus first confirmed in Wuhan, China in early January, 2020. The World Health Organization was first made aware of several cases of pneumonia in that region on December 31, 2019. The virus did not match any other known virus.
  • It is believed by scientists but not yet confirmed that the virus was transmitted to a human from a bat. Scientists believe that it took about 200 years for the virus to mutate to the point where it could be transferred between species. There is also a theory that the virus went from bats to anteaters, and then mutated again before moving to humans.
  • There are many coronaviruses that the human population has always dealt with. One of the reasons for the pandemic with COVID-19 is that it is a brand new coronavirus that humans had never been exposed to.
  • According to the WHO, there is no evidence that your pets can be infected with the COVID-19 virus. Although cats and dogs can test positive for low levels of the pathogen found in COVID-19, but they cannot pass COVID-19 onto humans. A dog or cat can test positive for the virus, but they will not become sick from it.
  • The symptoms for COVID-19 are fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If you have these symptoms, please do not go to the emergency room. We recommend going to the Ottawa Public Heath COVID-19 assessment centre at Brewer Arena, off Bronson Ave. across from Carleton University. The centre is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • It is estimated that the R Naught of the COVID-19 virus is 2.5, which is close to the flu. The R Naught is a figure used by epidemiologists to determine how contagious a disease is. The measles has an R Naught of about 15, mumps is at about 12, and chicken pox has an R Naught of about 8.5.
  • Some people will say the COVID-19 virus is nothing more than a common cold. That is a gross and dangerous statement. It is believed there are countless undiagnosed mild cases, making accurate statistics hard to determine. In China, a study of 44,000 cases determined that 80 per cent of them were mild. We do know that the people who are most at risk of dying from the virus are elderly patients with pre-existing medical conditions. Patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are also at high risk. People with auto-immune deficiencies are also at risk.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Using a hand sanitizer like Purrell is good, but it is not washing your hands. Soap and water are the most effective tool against COVID-19. And when you wash your hands, be sure to wash more than your palms. Wash between your fingers, your finger tips, and even under your nails. Think of the places on your hands you use to touch things with.
  • For those of you who have had a flu shot and/or a pneumonia shot this year, those shots are ineffective against this new virus. The pneumonia that has developed in serious and fatal cases of COVID-19 is a different type of pneumonia than the ones protected against through the shot.

What we have seen in the community

  • LCBO and Beer Store sales of Corona beer across the city are down significantly. We can guarantee you that Corona beer has nothing to do with the virus.
  • We have witnessed first hand that racism in the community against Asians has been an issue. Being Asian does not automatically make someone a potential carrier. Italy has surpassed China as the epicentre for COVID-19, but no one is avoiding Italians and we have seen no racism against Italian-Canadians.
  • Chinese take out and restaurant sales are down across the city. We have yet to hear of the virus being transferred through egg rolls or sweet and sour chicken balls.
  • Have any of you ventured over to Costco in Barrhaven to see what a gong show that place is? Don’t you find it odd that we are doing everything we can to keep our distances from people and avoid close contact? Yet we will flock to Costco like Pavlov’s dogs and shoe horn ourselves into a warehouse to load up on three months worth of toilet paper.
  • The mass hysteria around open houses that has gripped the Ottawa secondary housing market has been directly affected. There are rules around open houses now, limiting the number of people who can enter a home at one time. Many realtors will adapt and focus more on virtual home tours over the next month. Because so many buyers are coming from Toronto and China, perhaps more buyers will buy site unseen. The bottom line is that townhomes that were selling $100,000 over ask may now be selling for the discounted bargain price of $50,000 over ask.
  • Stores are reporting to us that more people are using debit and credit instead of cash at the check out lines over the past week. Wash your hands after handling cash, especially if you are going to eat. However, you are still susceptible to potential infection if using debit cards. After handling cash, debit or credit cards, a handheld payment terminal, using an ATM or using a cell phone or electronic device, it is important to wash your hands with soap and water.

Note – For those of you that have Sirius XM in your car or on your laptops or devices, XM Channel 121 is now dedicated to information about the COVID-19 virus. It is a great resource for everyone in dealing with the dangers and realities of the virus, as well as weeding out the facts from the panic and hysteria.

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