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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
Total Cases8841,013
Active Cases471482
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.

2020-04-01T04:47:21+00:001 April 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|

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.

Total Cases884
Active Cases471
New Cases 28/3/2092
Total Deaths17


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.

2020-03-29T03:20:32+00:0028 March 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|

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


  • 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.


  • 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.
2020-03-24T04:05:04+00:0024 March 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|

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.
2020-03-21T04:02:35+00:0021 March 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|

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.

2020-03-19T04:36:20+00:0019 March 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|

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.

2020-03-17T04:56:43+00:0017 March 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|

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.


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.

2020-03-13T22:50:14+00:0013 March 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|

COVID-19 Videos from China

I’ve been watching many videos over YouTube and other online sources of how ordinary Chinese citizens are coping with COVID-19 (Coronavirus). This has given me some insight into what it might be like for us should we face the same issues here in Canada.

Rubbish Collection

In some videos, I’ve seen significant pileup’s of rubbish that isn’t being collected, this has potential health impacts such as vermin infestation, air pollution, affecting those with respiratory issues, poor for wellbeing, can contaminate water and more. However, in more modern apartment complexes rubbish appears to be taken away regularly.

Private Health Insurance

In China, they have universal health care but private insurance for more chronic conditions. I’ve noticed some having difficulty with the online forms for COVID-19 related hospital stays, making claims off their insurance. However, I am wondering about the impacts under a more corporate-run health care system as in the US, whether it will be a barrier to those who are sick seeing out treatment due to cost.

Food Deliveries

I’ve seen a number of options for buying food during the crisis in China.

First, some are given passes every couple of days to go out and buy food from local stores or supermarkets. It does look as though finding an open store can be problematic, however, when people are finding them they do appear to be stocked up well.

Second, some food items are delivered to apartment complexes but the owners must order online. I’ve seen some content in videos where people are stressed out because they are running out of food but not realising, or don’t have the skillset, to order via a website or app.


I’ve seen people donate ready meals to hospital patients, and those owning farms donating their own products to communities. Recipe videos seem to have increased, these are from established vloggers and others who are demonstrating what they are cooking when you can’t access the food you wouldn’t normally buy ie less meat.

Medication Shortage

Not seen a lot of this but in one video a vlogger had to go out to the hospital to buy medication on their health insurance, I couldn’t see any examples of supplies being delivered to an apartment block. I’ve seen vloggers discuss how family members became sick with a non COVID-19 issue but didn’t have access to a pharmacy to get advice or medication, it could be the case of not thinking straight during a stressful situation.

Face Mask Shortage

I’ve seen many videos where ordinary citizens donate face masks to hospitals, the police and other emergency services. At the beginning of the crisis, I heard some concerns where people couldn’t buy face masks however not heard anything recently. People appear to wear basic masks, not the N95 standard ones with filters.  I’m not convinced the basic ones provide people with adequate protection but everyone should find out via their own health care practioners.

Family Separation

I’ve seen a lot of upset people that they cannot be with their families and are very concerned for their wellbeing. Many cancelled their plans to be with their families for Chinese New Year by the request of the government so this must have added that additional stress. I saw a video where a Mother caught the virus and decided her child should live with the grandparents until she is well. This creates another issue where grandparents are looking after their grandchildren and I don’t know if they are receiving the support they need to perform that function. The parents feel guilty since their children don’t understand what’s going on and hope they will forgive them as they get older.

I have seen a number of parents wish for their children to become doctors or health care workers so they can help people should another crisis in the future.


The more time people have on their hands the more they tend to think the worst. From what I’ve seen there are moments like this for vloggers, they record video of themselves crying and showing their desperation. They do seem to be able to pick themselves up as the situation improves. Would everyone be able to cope with staying at home for a long time? I always have things to do so I don’t think it would be a problem for me but for some, it will be a big issue.

Hair Cut

People can’t go out to get their hair cut as the stores are all closed, so I’ve seen people trying to cut their own. This has created a lot of amusement for those recording the videos as they make a complete mess of themselves. I saw some guy try to use a beard trimmer on his hair which kind of worked out ok. There are many services like this that we will miss while being stuck at home.


In some respects, China does appear to be more technologically advanced than Canada. People are using technology to keep in touch with each other particularly through WeChat and Weibo. Most people seem to pay for things via WeChat such as online-shopping. Some vloggers have set up a PayPal account to ask for a donation to help in the production of their videos. I noticed some people are a little suspicious of donations to China.

Cold Apartments

In every video, I saw vloggers and their families wear winter jackets in their own home or can even see their breath when speaking. This was my greatest concern as I would think they should keep warm to prevent related illnesses, it’s also a better environment to get better if you are sick. I wonder if heating is too expensive in parts of China or whether this is what citizens are used to.


Most of the videos are more pro Chinese government as vloggers could be arrested if they said anything against them but reading between the lines I’ve got so much from these even if it’s just to learn about their day to day life. I certainly have a better idea of what I need to do if and when the virus hits Canada.

2020-02-27T23:13:28+00:0027 February 2020|Health Care, Technology|

US Health Care Saving Money

Health care companies in the US are commercial enterprises who want to make money off their patients.  Regular or hidden charges can build up or take you by surprise leaving you feeling ripped off and penniless. So, it’s really a good idea to be an “intelligent customer” to ensure you are getting your money’s worth.

Here are some tips about avoiding larger charges that I have learnt.

  1. Try to get an estimate for the services you are going to use.  There are two reasons for this: a) when your bill comes along and you think you have been overcharged you have a basis to question it, b) you can shop around to other places that will provide the same thing.  Sometimes it’s very difficult to get an estimate from administrative staff so go through your own general practice if you can, they tend to be more helpful/competent.
  2. Stay within the network.  Treatment outside of your insurance network will be much more expensive, obscenely so, ensure that whatever you are going to have done stays in-house.
  3. Always ask the price, whether you have got an estimate or not, prior to your treatment.  I have been caught out thinking the service should be free, as in preventative, when days later I receive a huge bill.
  4. If something looks odd on your invoice then question it with the company. By doing this I found out that some companies don’t charge for a service that is less than $5.
  5. Use telehealth services. Often seeing the doctor face to face can mean a deductible or other charge. Consider using the companies telehealth service, that means to speak to a nurse on the phone or online. Often you can upload pictures so nurses can see the ailment to be checked out. Telehealth services might be free, check with your provider.
  6. When going to a practice observe how many people come to attend to you. It doesn’t take 5 nurses to take your blood pressure. I have always questioned why they provide multiple staff when it’s possible for one person to perform that simple task.
  7. Do you really need to see your doctor? Often a nurse can provide the service you need, this saves the doctor time and lowers your cost, probably.
  8. Question the price of medications. Buying drugs at your local pharmacy with GoodRx coupons could be cheaper than charging it to your insurance.  This has been the case with all my medications. Often independent pharmacies are already linked to the GoodRx system.

I hope you find these tips useful. They may not be relevant for all occasions but when doing business with a company that is providing a service you want to make sure you are getting a fair price for a high standard. Don’t be shy. Question everything. You are the customer.

2018-12-08T21:51:08+00:008 December 2018|Health Care, USA|

Epilepsy and Social Media

There is a trend on social media to post animations that are very “psychedelic” in nature but some of them can trigger an epileptic seizure or fit. In some cases, which have caused some media attention, people put those types of animations for the purpose of targeting specific users in order to make them sick.

Video AutoplayI feel those who upload these animations fall into the following categories:

  1. General users who think they are fun not realizing the consequences
  2. Social Media managers who think they are attention-grabbing not realizing the consequences
  3. Those who shamefully place them on social media with the sole purpose of doing harm.

Examples of the triggers of photosensitive epilepsy are described in this article by the Epilepsy Foundation. Some of the triggers they list are as follows:

  • Flickering light
  • Flashing
  • Intense strobe lights
  • Visual patterns with stripes

Hopefully, no one wants to do any harm to people and those with epilepsy do not want to get a seizure. Seizures are not amusing, feel uncomfortable for days, and can be fatal.  So, here are my suggestions on what can be done.

General Social Media Users

Simply review any animations you upload to social media to ensure it won’t do any harm to those who have taken the time and trouble to view your posts. If you think you have to upload the animation and there is a possibility it might cause harm please display a warning.

Social Media Managers

Before anything is uploaded to social media it should go through a QA process, not just the text but also any videos, graphics or animations.  You are probably checking to ensure it aligns with the company brand and goals, a company goal should be not to cause distress in your clients, potential or otherwise.  Please include the possibility of harmful animations in your workflow.

Those With Epilepsy

To safeguard yourself getting a seizure a fail-safe protection is to ensure animations do not load automatically, in other words, you need to click on a play button to run them. Every social media company should have this option in the settings of your account. Following is a rough guide for the most popular platforms:

  • Twitter Desktop: Profile and Settings > Settings and Privacy > Accessibility > Ensure “Video Autoplay” is unchecked. This will apply to videos and animated gifs.
  • Twitter App: Settings and Privacy > Scroll to Bottom and tap Video Autoplay > Choose Never
  • Tweetdeck: Settings > Settings > Turn Off “Autoplay GIFs”.
  • Instagram App: Click on Profile Icon (bottom right-hand corner) > Click on Menu icon (top right-hand corner) > Settings > Cellular Data Usage > Ensure Use Less Data is turned off.
  • Facebook Desktop: Settings > Videos (bottom left-hand side) > Auto-play Video’s should be set to Off.
  • Facebook App: Settings and Privacy > Settings > Videos and Photos > Autoplay > Tap Never Autoplay Videos
  • LinkedIn Desktop: Click on “Me” in top right menu > Settings and Privacy > Under Site Preference click on Autoplay Videos > Turn Autoplay to Off.
  • LinkedIn App: Tap on the icon where you place your image > Tap on Settings (wheel icon top-right) > Tap Autoplay videos > Check “Never Autoplay Videos.

British television generally provides a warning if an upcoming video contains flickering or flash photography. I think we can do the same over social media.

2018-09-21T21:22:20+00:0021 September 2018|Health Care, Technology|