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COVID19 Update March 31

In The News

As I write this there are now 859,556 total cases in the world, that is known about. Also 42,332 deaths and, on the positive, 178,300 recoveries. Every time I look at the US numbers they appear to shoot up, maybe this is because they are finally ramping up their testing: 180,510 cases, 4,076 deaths and 7,109 recoverings. The UK appears to be the only country in the Top Ten that how a less recoveries than deaths: 25,481 cases, 1,793 deaths and 179 recoveries.

British Columbia

  • BC is not as hard hit as most places, but as I said before 1 person severely ill or 1 person dying is too much.
  • As expected, health officials are saying there is no chance of lifting social distancing before May.
  • 19 long term Care Homes seem to be affected by the virus, which is very troubling
  • BC hasn’t really seen the peak of infections as yet
  • There are 4,171 bed available in BC, as elective surgeries have been cancelled, which is good, assuming that number isn’t breached.
28 Mar 2031 Mar 20
Population5,110,9175,110,917
Total Cases8841,013
Active Cases471482
Recoveries396507
New Cases Today9243
Total Deaths1724

My Diary

Monday we went to the supermarket, they were empty some items but picked up what we wanted more or less.  We are doing ok. Neighbours have had some issues picking up eggs.

We had a neighbour who was on a cruise where many passengers caught COVID19. He continued to have respiratory symptoms after the virus left his system and unfortunately died from them. His wife and children are finally able to bring his body back to Canada. When they arrive home they will be quarantined in their home. What a traumatic experience.

I am coming up to doing my end of month reporting so I will be busy over the next couple of days.

Monday was wet, today has been fairly decent. We don’t go outside of our gated community, just walk around to get the blood circulating. We notice senior neighbours will get together and drink wine in the afternoon, outside their houses. They keep their distance from each other, most of the time, I don’t think I want to take the risk.

I should get into the flow of trying achieve more. I do feel the business world is on hold right now but I guess I could get into the flow of my rebranding myself.

By |2020-04-01T04:47:21+00:00April 1st, 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|0 Comments

COVID19 Update March 28

In The News

British Columbia

Overall it doesn’t seem we are doing as badly as other places but it’s sad to hear about people dying fro this virus, 1 death is too many. Maybe people are adhering to the rules a bit more, I guess it takes a while for them to be drummed into people.

Population5,110,917
Total Cases884
Active Cases471
Recoveries396
New Cases 28/3/2092
Total Deaths17

Elsewhere

It seems totally unbelievable that, as I write this, the US has 124,377 cases and the UK has 17,312 cases.

In Colorado, where we used to live, which has a very similar population to British Columbia, they have 1,740 cases. Colorado also has twice as many deaths as well.

The main news coming out of Canada is how they are instituting more rules about staying at home, altough some of them seem to be a little late. Being reactive seems a very similar trait among other countries as well. Like elsewhere, there is discussion around helping those who have been disadvantaged by the virus such as unemployment.

The Trump leadership in the US appears to going from bad to worse and I am quite concerned about my friends who live there, especially the vulnerable ones.

My Diary

We went out on Friday 27th March to get a takeaway and some other essential food items. The restaurants we wanted to pick up from were closed until further notice. We did go into T&T supermarket for some asian essentials, they had quite a good stock in there, we were very pleased to pick up what we did, even dessert!

We are noticing people are starting to behave themselves a little better with the social distancing, or Phystical Distancing as they decided to call it now, from other people. The seniors were the worse due to being in denial of the situation.

We’ve been for our usual walks, to get some exercise in, ensuring we keep a distance from everyone and not touching anything as we enter/exit the building. I hurt my right foot so I have been stumbling when walking around.

I am continuing to work and learn new stuff from the online training courses I have signed up to.

The weather has been sunny until the past couple of days when it changed to be more rainy and cold.

By |2020-03-29T03:20:32+00:00March 28th, 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|0 Comments

COVID19 Update March 23

Another week starts with even more escalation in the Coronavirus outbreak.

In The News

In British Columbia

  • 48 new cases since Saturday, not bad considering previous days were in their 70s.
  • There is now a total of 472 caes
  • 13 people have sadly passed away
  • 33 have been admited to hospital, 14 of the those are in ICU. I understand hospitals are overwhelmed already because many are going there with Coronavirus type symptoms but it seems a small percentage actually have the virus.
  • 100 have recovered
  • BC is now able to conduct 3,000 tests per day

Canada

  • Trudeau will meet with Provincial leadership today to go through options which might include greater enforncement of the stay at home recommendation.
  • Ontario have closed all non-essential businesses.
  • There are now 2,088 cases in Canada with 25 deaths, most of them in BC.

Elsewhere

  • Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK, has announced a lockdown. Only businesses that are allowed to open are supermarkets, pharmacies and so on. I believe many were not paying attention to the “stay at home” recommendation and congregating in 50+ crowds outside supermarkets so the PM was more or less forced to do this. The Labour Party has given it’s thumbs up to this development
  • The US does appear to be in a mess with a distinct lack of leadership and I’m not sure what is going on there. Number of cases is unclear due to lack of testing but from what we know they are in the region of 46,400.

My Diary

  • We went to the supermarket to see what they had. I was a little bit nervous about going as I had seen chaos via social media at some outlets. However, at our local there wasn’t many people there, many items were in stock so we picked up salad, vegetables, fruit, chicken, cream and much more. We didn’t go overboard, just items we absolutely needed. Didn’t look as though other people were going overboard and everyone was being polite despite some grim faces.
  • We also went to the nursery to pick up some soil so we plant stuff such as growing potatoes. We were successful with those last year.
  • I was thinking, now that I can shave my own hair I might not need to go to a hairdressers again, this pleases me a lot and will save a lot of money. Probably save $20 per month, $240 a year, which can go towards other things.
  • We continue to walk round our gated community to get some exercise, I am worried that I will drastically put on weight during this period of isolation especially as I don’t know how long it will last. If the government restricts our movement further I suspect we’ll still be allowed to walk around our community but not much further unless we need to go to the supermarket or pharmacy.
By |2020-03-24T04:05:04+00:00March 24th, 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|0 Comments

COVID19 Update March 20th

Another week comes to an end in this new world we are currently live in, a week in which we see some semblance of normality return to China but a drastic unprecedented escalation, of the virus, in other parts of the world.

In The News

  • The border between US and Canada will be closing at midnight tonight (March 20th). It looks as though Canada will not be accepting any asylum seekers via the US either, they will send them back
  • The latest data from British Columbia: 348 cases province-wide, 22 in hospital, 10 ICU, No new deaths thankfully
  • Yet another care home in the region has confirmed a COVID19 case, it’s troubling how many there are now.
  • Canada Post says they are still delivering mail although we haven’t had much in the past few days at all. [News1130]
  • BC Health advise all restaurants must move to a take out/delivery model
  • Boris Johnson says he is confident the country will be virus free in 12 weeks, it seems scientists are a little troubled about his statement.
  • Trump continues talking nonsense which has the majority of Americans quite concerned. The number of case of the virus in the US appear to be changing hourly.

My Diary

Usual schedule, nothing out of the ordinary.

  • We were saddened to hear the passing of a neighbour. They were on a cruise ship where many passengers caught the virus and were being looked after in Japan. The husband of the couple was 2 weeks clear of the virus but had developed severe respiratory issues which eventually killed him.
  • I had some health issue myself on Friday, nothing related to COVID19, which was a bit of a nuisance. I think I am ok now but obviously wasn’t going to report to a doctor given what else is happening right now.
  • I managed to shave my own hair with the help of the hubby who do the back of my head. It actually turned out ok, I was quite surprised. Maybe I won’t need to go to the hair dressers again if I can keep this up.
  • The weather over the past couple of days have been beautiful, although we can’t go far it’s been very nice to walk around the complex inside our gated community.
  • I’ve started to reduce the amount of news media I consume and watching “official” channels like CPAC for video feeds of government news conferences so I can avoid journalists who editorialize too much. I must stop watching Trump.
By |2020-03-21T04:02:35+00:00March 21st, 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|0 Comments

COVID19 Update March 18th

I was thinking of doing a daily COVID19 diary but thought that would be too much and I still have work to do.

In The News

The past couple of days has seen a lot of developments in the news, it’s difficult to keep on top of it all.

  • The border between the US and Canada has been closed with exception of essential traffic. Essential most likely means those carrying food or medicine. Looking at the border web cam’s there hasn’t been much traffic going back and forth anyhow.
  • Due to the rise in reported COVID19 cases British Columbia declared a national emergency.
  • The total number of COVID19 cases in British Columbia is now 231. There has been a total of 7 deaths.
  • British Columbia says people don’t need to go to the doctors office to renew prescriptions, they will renew them automatically, this is incredibly useful as it takes a lot of foot traffic away from surgeries.
  • The EU shut down it’s borders with some exceptions.
  • The death toll in the UK has risen to 104 (99 in England). Total number of cases is now 2,626.

For BC, CBC produce a fantastically useful daily update.

I notice an increased level of stress as people start look at someone to blame. US blames China. China blames US. US blames Trump. Trump blames Obama. UK blames Boris. I feel the blame game is quite unhelpful at this time, there might be enough of it to go round every where but while people get in a tiz this is taking the energy away from saving lives.

My Diary

On Tuesday I received my hair trimmers via Amazon. Amazon had announced it was going to focus on essential items so I might have ordered this just in time. I ordered them because I saw videos from Wuhan of residents trying to cut their own hair as stores close. Our local hair dressers is also closing for good, nothing to do with the virus, so thought his might be a good time to learn how to cut my own hair.  Picture below, the Panda didn’t come with it!!

Hair Trimmer

While I was waiting for the nice Amazon delivery guy Don went to the supermarket. It was busy but Canadian Superstore had all aisles open, thankfully. They were virtually out of soup and milk, even at 9.15am, not good. I hope they refilled their shelves later in the day. We are all set with everything we need for a while.

I was most displeased that Facebook decided to delete a post that Don shared letting people know the Dollar General store had special hours for seniors only. This was related to yet another error at the company relating to its algorithm, they said had nothing to do with COVID19, but clearly was. The last thing we need are headlines from this company who don’t have a good reputation anyhow.

I am continuing to work, which is keeping my time away from social media and the news.

By |2020-03-19T04:36:20+00:00March 19th, 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|0 Comments

COVID19 Update March 16th

Part 2 of my Coronavirus diary, documenting part of my routine and interesting things I see around my life.

Health Update

As expected a new phase in the life of the virus took a new turn today, following is a summary of the highlights:

  • Non-residents/citizens are no longer able to enter Canada unless they are a US citizen, diplomatic staff etc. The US is Canada’s main trading partner and it will be a tough call to block the border.
  • Canadian citizens or residents will not be allowed to come back into the country if they have the virus. The government here are going to provide financial assistance to those people who cannot get back in, I’m not sure, as yet, what that will entail.
  • The local government here in British Columbia urges American citizens to keep away.
  • British Columbia sadly added three more deaths to the list of fatalities and 30 more cases of the infection, the total for the provice is now 103. Read the full update here.

My Diary

Since we are now self-isolating our weekend and Monday schedule wasn’t that exiciting.

We are going out within the gated community for walks 2-3 times a day, we should increase that since exercise will be minimal while isolating. The mornings are very cold, today it was -4C when we got up, not very welcoming to go outside.  On our walk we often meet neighbours and catch up with what has been going on.  Generally, everyone is taking their new routine well but a little nervous about what may be to come in the next 2-3 weeks.

Today I had some work to do, one of the journals I work for, Tobacco Regulatory Science, released their March 2020 issue.

Just in case I catch the virus and don’t make it I am going to update documentation they can pass on to whomever will take over my duties.

Tonight we watch another exciting episode of the Netflix Chinese series called “Rise of The Phoenixes”, episode 64. It’s worth watching this series, it’s quite well done.

Interesting YouTube Videos

We’ve been following the story of a couple in Wuhan, Chinese, who have faced the virus head on. He is a cameraman for a TV production company, she is a nurse. Unforuntately, she caught the virus at work.  The first video is their latest update, from today, and the second one is the BBC who covered their story.

By |2020-03-17T04:56:43+00:00March 17th, 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|0 Comments

COVID19 Update March 13th

Thought I would start writing a regular diary on my blog to document what is happening here to us regarding Coronavirus.

Current Data

As of the time I write this, it doesn’t seem that British Columbia (BC) has been affected too badly by the virus. Currently, out of a population of about 4.9 million, there are 64 confirmed cases in BC out of a total of 152 in Canada. Sadly, one person has died in BC.

There have been some cases where people have just come back from visiting Egypt or Iran. Visitors from Washington State, in the US, now appears to be a problem in spreading the virus.  Businesses will drive up to BC to deliver goods, American’s come up to buy the cheap medication they can’t afford in the US, and there is also the tourism factor.

Local Impact

We know of a couple from our community who were on the Japanese cruise ship and are currently stuck in Japan being treated. One half of the couple appears to be in a serious condition, not well enough to travel back home to go into isolation, I hope he pulls through.

We learned today that someone in our building is being tested for COVID19, if positive they will go through the motions of tracking who they’ve had contact with. Within a close-knit community, they could have had contact with us but as yet that person has not been identified due to privacy reasons.

Most events in our immediate community have been cancelled or postponed. About 70% are senior citizens who cannot take a risk in catching the virus in social gatherings, so trimming down contact with locals seems the sensible thing to do.

Shopping

There has been a sharp spike in panic buying here. We have been to most of the local stores to get our regular day to day items, we already have the most long-term items in our house. We notice stores haven’t been able to re-stock in-demand items like face masks and hand sanitizers.

Costco: Probably the worse store for rudeness, people fight for toilet rolls and other items which have a long storage cycle. The experience we had in there makes me wish I never had to go there again.

Save On: This has been the quietest store, probably the most expensive too. They have the shortest lines.

Canadian Superstore: This is a huge discount type of supermarket.  At the beginning of the week it was fairly quiet but today each check-out had a least 30 carts lined up, it was a nightmare. The store was incredibility unprepared for this panic buying apocalypse and those just picking up a few items were the victims against those picking up trolley loads of items to sell on Amazon or eBay.

Challo: Similar to Canadian Superstore they hardly had any customers at the beginning of the week but today it was incredibly crowded. Unprepared for such a long line of people with only a couple of check out’s open, hopefully in the days to come management will review and put on more staff.

I have to say all staff are doing a simply amazing job coping with the increased workload despite many customers being extremely rude to them.

Going Out

We have decided we are going to limit our contact with people with effect from tomorrow (14th March). We are in that “at-risk” group of people so the less exposure we have with large groups of people will be better for us. Luckily we have a lot of space to go out and exercise plus plenty of work and entertainment to keep ourselves amused.

By |2020-03-13T22:50:14+00:00March 13th, 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|0 Comments

Weetabix vs Weetabix

When you travel around or have lived in 3 different countries as I have, you realise international brands aren’t the same everywhere.  This is definitely the case for breakfast cereal Weetabix. This is a comparison against Weetabix UK and Weetabix Canada.

What are the brand differences?

WeetabixIn the picture to the right, the Weetabix on top is Canadian and below is a box I bought from Tesco in the UK.

The UK is going for a more minimalist branding on Weetabix boxes with plenty of blank space at the moment, at least on the one I picked up. I have seen better designs in recent years and personally prefer it when they are busier.

Canada suggests their 12 size Weetabix product as their introductory first-timer marketing solution, at least that’s how it looks.  Rarely do I see boxes of 12 in Canada apart from in this format and I’ve only found them in London Drugs. They always have a $1 off coupon for their 24 size boxes, definitely worth picking up.

In the US Weetabix product placement usually goes in the “healthy cereal” area not among the American-style cereals which are generally full of sugar and other rubbish.  In Canada, I notice they are mingled in with the American cereals and aren’t so noticeable as generally, they don’t place them to sell well, usually in the uppermost shelf and only a 1 box row. There is an exception at London Drugs who often display them in the aisle rather than on the shelf or in a prominent position on the selves.

Here is one of the Weetabix UK commercials which I recall seeing before:

I don’t actually recall seeing any Weetabix commericals in Canada but there has at least been one:

Pricing

12 size

In Canada, London Drugs usually sell 1 box for $1.69 (GBP £0.95) or alternatively, 2 boxes or more for $1.50 each (GBP £0.85). In the UK, based on Tesco pricing, a box of 12 is currently £1.50.  So, based on a box of 12, Weetabix is cheaper in Canada.

24 size

In Canada, this ranges in pricing significantly from store to store. In Walmart, I’ve seen it at $3.97, in Real Canadian Superstore at $4.05 but in other stores can be as much as $6.00. In the UK, based on Sainsbury pricing, a box of 24 is currently £2.80, that is CAD $4.96.  Compared to its lowest prices a 24 pack of Weetabix is also cheaper in Canada.

Other sizes

I have not seen larger size boxes of Weetabix in Canada (ie 48 and 72) to do a comparison against the UK. I would prefer to buy larger boxes if I can assuming it would be a bargain for me to do so.

Taste Differences

Many might think that Weetabix tastes the same no matter where you buy it, but this is not the case.

The Canadian box states that it is manufactured in Canada. The UK box doesn’t say where it’s manufactured but does state it contains 100% British wholegrain wheat. It’s difficult to assess if the nutritional facts are the same due to how differently each country displays them on the packaging.

Getting right down to it, I actually prefer the British Weetabix.  The texture of the British product seems crunchier and rougher compared to the Canadian equivalent, I think I must have got used to that over the years. Yes, and there is a slight taste difference, I do prefer the UK taste over the Canadian. The British product is better when I put hot milk on it too.

I would pay a higher price for the British product. Some specialist stores in Canada do sell the British version of the product, just like they sell other products that have Canadian equivalents, however, they are very expensive to buy, as though I have paid full price for them to be shipped all the way from the UK.  I guess British people know the difference between UK products and their Canadian equivalents.

I wish I had bought more British Weetabix back with me from my trip. Oh well. Where ever you buy Weetabix it’s still a great product and recommend you try it if you haven’t done so already.

Resources

Weetabix UK: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Weetabix Canada: Post Website (No Dedicated Canadian Site)

Weetabix USA: Website | Facebook (was a US site redirects to Weetabix International) | Twitter (hasn’t been updated since 2015)

By |2019-03-27T15:05:59+00:00March 27th, 2019|Canada, Food, UK|0 Comments

Shreddies vs Shreddies vs Chex

One of my favourite cereals that I must have is Shreddies. Over the years I haven’t noticed a change in the taste, at least since I’ve been eating them which is probably for almost 50 years now.  I only eat Shreddies in hot milk, I know some people like to mix it up with dried fruit and other cereal with cold milk but this isn’t for me.

So who has the better Shreddies?

Shreddies UKUnited Kingdom

Production of Shreddies in the United Kingdom began in 1953, much later than in Canada. They were first manufactured by Nabisco until they were taken over by Nestle.  This is probably the best of all the Shreddies, as in better quality and flavour profile.  I enjoy two of their products, both Original and Frosted.  I don’t care for the Coco flavour but haven’t had the chance to try their Shreddies Max product. The price of Shreddies is GBP£2.00 for 415g, at least this is the current price from Tesco, the cost is very reasonable. [Shreddies UK]

Shreddies CanadaCanada

Production of Shreddies in Canada began before that of the United Kingdom, in 1939, by Nabisco.  Post Cereal went on to buy them out. This hasn’t got the same taste as the UK version but its pretty close, however, I still enjoy this product very much.  I only like their Original Flavour, they don’t do the Frosted variety in Canada as much as I have lobbied them to introduce it into this market. The price of Shreddies in Canada is around CAD$3.97 for 100g but depends where you buy it from, there are always deals and sales. [Shreddies Canada]

Wheat ChexUnited States

Shreddies isn’t sold in the United States so when I lived there the closest I could find was Wheat Chex, this is manufactured by General Mills. The taste is very different, more bitter, is harder and just not as enjoyable.  I don’t enjoy any of the other Chex products.  I bought Wheat Chex when it was on sale and would eat it occasionally. Some Chex products are available in Canada but not the Wheat brand.  Chex isn’t available in the United Kingdom.  I’m not sure of the price of Chex in the US. [Wheat Chex]

So, who wins in this contest?  Yes, British Shreddies. Canadian Shreddies coming in as a close second. US Chex is third.

By |2019-02-12T01:16:54+00:00February 12th, 2019|Canada, Food, United Kingdom, USA|0 Comments

Crystall Mall

Today we did one of our regular trips to Crystal Mall.  This shopping centre has mainly Asian businesses or ones that target the Asian community. It is best known for its Food Hall and food shops. There are many other businesses such as travel agents, kitchenware, immigration advice, hairdressers and toy shops.

There are a number of routes to the shopping centre and is conveniently located in Burnaby near Metrotown, Metropolis at Metrotown is a mega-shopping centre.  Metrotown can be very stressful so we tend to keep clear and keep to Crystal Mall.

What a fantastic array of choices there are in the Food Hall from Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and more. Unlike many other standard food halls this one is of very high quality, maybe it’s because the competition is great with the other stores.  We do like to have DimSum there, a couple of outlets do this very well, but spend time and discover for yourself.

Here are some photographs from our trip to Crystal Mall today.

By |2019-01-16T01:00:33+00:00January 16th, 2019|Canada, Food|0 Comments