Local News

Young Observer: Mid February Edition

I survived the Omicron surge last month despite getting notified by my school on a weekly basis that I had been exposed to someone with COVID.  I’m fully vaccinated, and the rate of new infections has dropped significantly, so I wonder if I should still get boosted? Curious what my fellow high school students have decided on, I conducted a survey and below are the results.

As of January 22, at the height of the Omicron surge, 43 out of 80 respondents (54%) had gotten the booster two weeks after it was authorized by the Food & Drug Administration on January 3.  This shows how much these Fullerton teens value protecting themselves from the virus. I wouldn’t be surprised considering that even in my school, as many as 18 teachers and close to 500 students per day missed school in the early part of January. (Our school attendance got back to normal towards the end of January.)  I value my health, too, but I didn’t feel I was ready for my booster considering I had had an adverse reaction with the initial vaccines (headache, fever, nausea) that almost sent me to the hospital, and some news about the vaccine claiming it was not proven to be effective against the Omicron variant.  As an alternative, I started using a certified KN94 specifically designed for kids my age, so it fits perfectly compared to the adult size.  This is based on what I had learned that the Omicron variant loses its ability to infect within 5 seconds to 20 minutes upon release into the air.  Because the virus quickly dries out, my mask would be my primary protection along with social distancing (almost impossible though inside the classrooms) and sanitizing my hands.

Last week (Feb 7), I followed up with the other half of the respondents who have not gotten the booster.  Only 7 out of the 37 respondents have been boosted.  Being able to survive the surge last month that is now falling rapidly is a possible reason for the significant number of 30 students to not get boosted.  However, it is worth knowing that despite the drop in new infections, Orange County is still averaging about 300 cases per day as of last week (www.occovid19.ochealthinfo.com). So, the virus is still around and still capable of infecting anyone.  Meanwhile, as time passes, the vaccine protection wanes and in a recent study, it was found that the booster shot prevents hospitalization and death up to 90% of the time and prevents infection at least 50% of the time.  Looking back at last month’s surge, the chart above shows the rate of infection among unvaccinated, fully vaccinated, and boosted.  It clearly illustrates how the unvaccinated were the most vulnerable to the virus (7.5 times more likely to get COVID than those who have been boosted).

Based on these new findings and the fact that the average case counts remain significant despite the drop in surge, I plan to get my booster this month fully aware of the brief side effects I may experience. I feel that it will increase my protection, especially since the mask mandate expires this week (vaccinated people are not required to wear masks indoors), and our school is bringing back our school events effective this month, like the much-awaited International Food Festival, cultural dance showcase, and spring assembly. 

If you wish to get your vaccine, you can get it from your nearest pharmacy or visit www.myturn.ca.gov.

From classrooms to the Internet, the new viral word game Wordle has officially taken the world by storm. Once a day, players are given six chances to accurately guess a five-letter word. Based on this rather simple algorithm created by software engineer Josh Wardle, users can hone their vocabulary skills thanks to this advertisement- and cost-free game.

Considering its rapid growth in popularity from 300,000 daily players in December to over 10 million in January, The New York Times officially revealed its ownership over the game, which was said to be sold for a low-seven figure price. Despite no app, the public has shown a growing interest in these word puzzles, and some are even taking the initiative to crack the code behind solving these challenging five-letter words.

There is actually a very interesting reason why Black History Month is celebrated in February.

It started with a man named Carter G. Woodson in the 1920s. He was one of the leaders of African American studies during the early 20th century, a time when African American culture and history was widely disregarded by schools and historians. Although slavery had been abolished many decades before, Black people were still not receiving the recognition they deserved. With this in mind, Woodson launched a Negro History Week in February 1926 to celebrate the history of African Americans and to give them the love and respect they had longed for. During this week, people were educated on the history and culture of Black Americans. Woodson’s event became a huge success, and it grew into a full month’s worth of celebrations during the American civil rights movement of the 1960s. This is not the only reason Black History Month is held in February, however. This month is actually the birth month of two important advocates for the rights of Black people in America. The first is our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. He played a pivotal role in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, a document that ensured the freedom of all slaves. The second person is Frederick Douglass, a famed African American abolitionist. A former slave himself, Douglass wrote many autobiographies to convey his feelings towards slavery and the Civil War. So, because of these three men, students and adults alike learn and appreciate the history of Black Americans during Black History Month. This is also a good opportunity to celebrate not just the big names in Black history but also our very own African American friends.  

This adorable 1-year-old cavy guinea pig is ready to discover a permanent home! As soon as he adjusts to the changes in his life, Marvel will snuggle into your life (and lap). Marvel revels in playing hide-and-go-seek in his golden, crunchy hay and gloriously napping like a Snorlax (An extremely drowsy Pokemon).

He will squeak his patient, little, cute, adorable squeak to remind you to feed him. His dramatically expressive bead-eyes will definitely wheedle you into treating him to a delicious snack. Not just one treat… ALL the appetizers a guinea pig could ever want!

Now is the perfect time to adopt a marvelous marvel of cavies like Marvel, thanks to the OC Animal Care’s Happy New Year adoption promotion. All adoption fees have been waived for rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters.

Call (714) 935-6848 or visit www.ocpetinfo.com.

Endangered Animal

Q: Where is the Anaimalai Flying Frog located?

A: The Western Ghats of India. The Anaimalai Frog is also called the false Malabar gliding frog and the false Malabar tree frog. They are generally bright green with yellow sides and grow up to around 4 inches. They survive on insects. Though they are critically endangered, they are not yet extinct because Naturalist Hadlee Renjith’s project to conserve these amphibians began an organic movement just last year. His speeches and photos have touched hearts, and have saved many slimy froggies. Let Renjith’s eager enthusiasm move you and touch your heart today!

If you’re looking for an Asian-inspired fantasy with a variety of characters and phenomenal sibling dynamics, a magic system centered around jade that enhances one’s abilities, and a precarious balance of politics, action, and clan rivalry, Jade City is the book for you.

It’s not at all fast-paced, but the slow build in tension and suspense kept me on my toes. Fonda Lee has crafted such an intricate work of fiction, and I am in awe of how quickly it got me invested in the four Kaul siblings and their story of seeking vengeance, holding power, and most importantly, helping each other; they are family, after all.

Jade City has you grieving for characters you never really knew, allows you to live vicariously through these power-hungry characters, and toys with your emotions. It wraps up enough to satisfy but clearly sets the stage for so much more. The least I can say is, my mind never felt so alive. After reading this, I went on to finish the next two books within a month (even though they are both over five hundred pages because, yes, they were that good), which is something I don’t recommend but highly encourage.


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