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Tuesday 28 December 2021

Omicron or Delta: which Covid strain do you have?

Right now you are reading this as you likely have just been advised you have Omicron.

Or someone you live with or love has it...

Or you think you may have it.

But do you have the Delta strain of Covid, or the Omicron variant of Covid?

And does it matter?

And how do know which you have?

In gathering info, there are a few key differences between the Omicron and Delta variants of Covid-19.

Though no ONE symptom can help you figure out which one you’ve caught if you've tested positive. 

Other than that PCR test (we know... at time of writing this your results will likely be returned after more than five days), and additional genome sequencing, a scratchy throat could be a key sign you’re infected with the new mutant strain, The Sun reports.

Doctors have found Omicron-infected patients seem to present with a scratchy throat - like they’ve been yelling or singing loudly - making their voices huskier or deeper than usual even before you start feeling sick.

Delta-infected patients instead have a sore throat.

Private health insurer Discovery Health found a scratchy throat was the most common symptom Omicron patients experience, followed by nasal congestion, a dry cough and lower back pain.

Here is a list of what's what with both variants:

DELTA symptoms:

  • Fever

  • Coughing

  • Sore throat

  • Shortness of breath

  • Runny nose or congestion

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or joint pains

  • Nausea or loss of appetite

  • Diarrhoea or vomiting

  • Temporary loss of taste or smell

OMICRON symptoms:

  • Scratchy throat or a hoarse, deeper voice

  • Runny nose/congestion

  • Headache

  • Dry cough

  • Fatigue

  • Sneezing

  • Lower back pain

  • Night sweats

  • Body aches

    Infectious diseases expert Professor Peter Collignon said the differing symptoms could prove that Omicron had a lower “virulence” than Delta.

    “I can believe (the difference in symptoms), your throat may be more scratchy than sore, that may be a reflection of not as bad virulence or aggressiveness from the virus strain,” Professor Collignon said.

    Omicron has been deemed “five times less severe” than the Delta strain, according to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, and early studies by The UK Health Security Agency have found people who catch the new strain are 70 per cent less likely to end up in hospital.

    Professor Collignon also stood by vaccination as the best way to protect yourself from any strain of the virus.

    "It’s the best insurance you can get, most people who come to grief are those who aren’t vaccinated at all… the first two shots give you a 90 percent reduction in going to hospital, the third a 95 per cent reduction,” he said.

    In writing this from my bed and day-something of my Covid positive diagnosis, I can attest as an immunocompromised person (vitiligo) that I am SUPER grateful for my double vaccination.

    My booster was days away, but now my body is filled with antibodies, and I am continuing my journey to getting to 100% health... with only days to go!

Sunday 26 December 2021

I got Covid for Christmas: Omicron strikes!

There are many things I’ve learned about the world, about those around me, and especially about myself in the past few days… that there is still a massive stigma around contracting Covid.

(And of course, with good reason… the Omicron variant is highly transmissible - and boy did I learn this!).

This lesson has come from within… as I kept the news of my Covid diagnosis private. Until now. More on that shortly.

I am… and I will cut to the chase… a statistic now. I was sent THAT dreaded message around the annual 'Festivus' we ALL wait all year for...

“Dear xx,

This is an official message from NSW Health.

You have recently tested POSITIVE for COVID-19.

If you are under 50 years of age, have had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine and do not suffer from any chronic medical illnesses (listed below) you are at low risk of serious illness and may be able to look after yourself at home. Most children under 16 years can be safely looked after at home, even if not COVID-19 vaccinated.

If this is incorrect or you are pregnant, please call 1800 960 933, so we can link you in with a health service.

If you have mild symptoms, concerns or questions, you can call your GP.

If you have a health emergency or are feeling breathless, chest pain or are fainting please call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

For all other COVID-19 related information please refer to https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/advice-for-confirmed.aspx 

*Medical risk factors include


Severe, chronic or complex medical conditions (including cardiac, respiratory, renal or neurodevelopmental)


Immunocompromised including malignancy

Severe mental illness

You are advised to isolate at home for ten days from the day of your positive test, at which time you will receive an SMS from NSW Health confirming you can be released from isolation.”


It’s the Jerry Springer equivalent of “you ARE the father.”

It’s a shit moment, and the moment when you immediately think: who have I seen? Where did I go? What did I do? Who did I kiss hello or give a hug to?

I cried as the realisation set in that I'd be not hosting, hugging, or having good food and drinks at my Christmas table, and would now only be accepting all meals via proxy, left outside my door.

Many of us have watched from afar for the past two years since this godforsaken beast entered our lives and vocabularies.

We’ve tried our hardest to suppress our taboo feelings of schadenfreude - and while in NO WAY would we wish this virus on ANYONE, and we'd do anything to turn back the clock to a time when it didn’t exist - the reality is we were always so glad to sidestep it! Who’d want covid!

Most of us haven’t got it yet (do you remember a time when people would ask on those useless Facebook polls: “But do you even KNOW anyone who has it! See, it doesn’t exist! Dear God, thankfully we’ve moved along from that).

The reality is - and give it jusssst a few weeks, even days - you’ll know someone who is not only a close contact, they’ll HAVE COVID.

It might even be you.

No wait, it’s very likely to be you too. (That early modelling where it was suggested that by the end of January it’ll be 200,000 cases daily doesn’t seem like an over exaggeration now, does it!).

And therein lies the key with Omicron, I’ve just learned… it does not matter how careful you are. You’re highly likely to contract the Omicron variant of Covid.

And because it’s a virus it’s of course highly transmissible.

Or you could use the word... contagious.

When I think of 'contagious', I think of conjunctivitis... and like hell do I want to acquire conjunctivitis from someone if I can physically see they have goo in their eye! You’d retreat and stay away, right?

That’s the thing with Covid, and especially this variant: unlike manky eye goo, you can’t see it, and you could be a carrier for up to 14 days before you even know it, OR start showing symptoms.

So that party you went to in the past few days or week where you let your guard slip and loosened that mask to have a better chat, or while cradling and occasionally sipping a champers, or chowing down on food could be THAT moment someone is giving it you, or you’re giving it to them!

Just days before I contracted Covid, I saw that a fellow publicist had just got her Covid positive confirmation. I read about it on her socials.

She was distraught, as she was finally seeing her family overseas after two years apart. Then boom.

I recall my mind going down the path of (and I know you’re thinking this about me): but where did she go? Who did she hang out with? Was she safe?

I checked myself immediately, as I KNEW she'd been safe.

Oh yeah. Don’t I know it.

I’ve no doubt I’m being judged about how I got it.

The truth is… I don’t exactly know.

But it’s not really relevant because if I didn’t get it this week, I’d get it next week. It’s almost guaranteed now.

Even Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Health, weighed in today:

“We would expect that pretty well everybody in NSW at some point will get Omicron … and if we’re all going to get Omicron, the best way to face it is when we have full vaccinations including our booster,” Brad Hazzard said.

“The challenge for us in the state is to make sure that our health system can cope with that oncoming virus that is so transmissible.”

Isolation has been a real mixed bag.

I am completely gutted I missed Christmas with my family at my place. (To add salt to the wound, it was a perfect pool day and I live for those, and running around and having ice cream and snacks delivered by me to my pool guests).

It REALLY, really sucks to feel like a leper, but that’s your mind playing tricks, because you absolutely do know it’s the safe and right thing to do to stay away from anyone.

I’ve accepted an external food drop off from family, and cups of honey tea, and BBQ steak at my closed bedroom doorstep. I am catching up BIG time on streaming and yesss I am loving that part!

I’ve had several 1.5 hour phone catch ups today with friends, some people calling and messaging me constantly, some showing little or zero concern, and I feel the latter comes from thinking I somehow brought this on myself (as if… I’m currently still a little immunocompromised with my vitiligo medication, and I was bloody careful everywhere, and sanitised, and masked up like mad, only taking it off from afar for those taking a photo of me).

But Omicron has been a thing for several weeks now… and I’m gonna say it has only really, truly been in our collective orbit for the past few days, hasn't it...

We think we’ve outsmarted it!

But no, our clever ways don’t determine a single thing.

Because even if you’ve been super OCD-level careful, perhaps the relative at the party you just attended hasn’t… and if they’re unwell they might have fronted up to that Christmas lunch anyway… because who wants to miss out! I certainly didn't.

Everyonnnnne thinks their family is more special than yours. Everyone! That's completely normal, and it’s intrinsic to how you view your family, and it’s how family loyalty exists! It's not a bad thing. Those bloodlines are strong, and that’s what makes family beautiful.

But Omicron does not discriminate against who it picks and chooses… I’ve learned that in the past few days.

My silver lining is that now that I’ve had it (and with antibiotics and some serious steroids I am shocked at how much I’m kicking this MF to the curb so fast, feck yes, yay for me) I know that my double vaccine has done its job to help me stay OUT of hospital annnd not take up a bed which costs $6000 per day of your tax money, and bloody hardworking nurses and doctors to sustain and look after you. 

(Nobody with any intelligence has ever suggested you cannot get Covid if you are vaxxed, of course you can... it's just that Omicron went and effed shit up good and proper, and chucked out that little rule book of having you somehow feel you can maybe, maybe sidestep it).

And, that acquiring the virus and having it taking over my body has done me more good than harm, and more good than any vaccine ever could. That's a fact! FECK YES TO JABS!

Oh, I also can’t get my booster jab now for six months… I was due to go next week. That’s not a silver lining, just the nature of the beast, it’s how it works.

Onwards to better days and getting out of my iso room (I’ve a large spare room, with a bed and an ensuite and I’m so, so, so grateful for this room in my house… I know I am luckier than most).

But no schadenfreude here… and never will!

Tuesday 14 December 2021

'Jagged Little Pill': REVIEW + red carpet pics, Theatre Royal Sydney

'Jagged Little Pill' the album was a such a zeitgeist moment in time when it hit our ears for the first time, and it was a moment in time when the word 'angst' to describe an album was used like never before!

Released in 1995, singer Alanis Morissette, the Canadian-American musician, singer, songwriter and actress packed so many emotions into this album, and it became an anthemic anthology for millions.

In fact, over 30 millions - with 30 million albums sold!

And now, 25 years later the Broadway production takes us back to that 'anguish'.

With music by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard, lyrics by Morissette, based on a book by the extraordinary and prolific Diablo Cody with additional music by Michael Farrell and Guy Sigsworth, the musical is inspired by THAT album and deals with the aforementioned pain, as well as healing, and ultimately empowerment. It premiered at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts in May 2018. The show began previews on Broadway in November 2019, and opened on December 5, 2019. 'Jagged Little Pill' won two awards on 15 nonimations, the most of any show for the 2019 - 2020 season! It also won a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album.

The story centres around the Healys, an upper-middle-class Connecticut family ruled by mother Mary Jane (Natalie Bassingthwaite), with husband Steve (Tim Draxl) and their kids Frankie (Emily Nkomo) and Liam (Liam Head).

Steve is a massive workaholic, meanwhile Liam just got into Harvard, and adopted daughter Frankie is a happy soul though experimenting sexually with her best bud, non-binary Jo (the extraordinary Maggie McKenna - she's the daughter of THAT Gina Riley, yep 'Kath and Kim' and wow those pipes are clearly a hereditary trait). For me, singer Aydan is also a stand out in the show...

Mary Jane is lonely, and buying backstreet oxycodone to numb her pain, and while there are many story arcs, many centre around her.

It's so very cool to see how each song is interwoven into the script... and it may surprise you.

You'll sing along in your head to every single lyric and THIS will be the show everyone will be talking about.

The strong themes mean that 'Jagged Little Pill' is recommended for ages 14 and up, and this production contains strong language, adult themes, drug use, and moments of sexual violence that might be quite confronting for some. During some of these scenes one young lady in front of me wiped away her tears, and it is that kind of emotional rollercoaster ride.

The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Jagged Little Pill is also available to purchase, download, and stream on all major services. Listen to it on Spotify here.

Here are some red carpet pics from the Australian premiere of 'Jagged Little Pill', from Thursday 9 December, at the NEWLY refurbished Theatre Royal Sydney - the grand old lady is looking mighty fine after a huge refresh, and it was so wonderfully historic to experience a show during this special moment in time - Josie's Juice was fortunate to attend this premiere, and you can catch more photos on www.instagram.com/josiesjuicejournalist

Pic credit: James D. Morgan, Getty Images. 


'Jagged Little Pill' runs for two hours and 40 minutes, including one 20 minute intermission.

For more info: https://www.jaggedmusical.com

And to buy tickets go HERE.