Coronavirus: One Man’s Opinion

On December 31, 2019, China reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in people associated with the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, Hubei Province. Since then, the virus has spread to various other countries but the majority of cases are still located in China and in the Wuhan region. I’d like to offer my own opinion about this event and what’s happening world-wide.

As I write this, World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus continues to state that this outbreak can be managed if countries cooperate. He praises China for its efforts to contain the virus. He and the others on the WHO emergency panel all offer the same calming and encouraging message. (Photo credit: WHO)

While the media often often tends to sensationalize events such as this virus outbreak, we can take a more cool headed approach. Look at the numbers involved here. As I write, the number of reported deaths worldwide from the virus is 427, most of which have been in China. While all of those deaths are regrettable and families are suffering because of them, look at some other numbers, which will help us keep this outbreak in proportion.

More than 700 people are killed in road accidents across China every day, according to the World Health Organisation. The WHO estimates that traffic accident claim about 260,000 deaths on the mainland each year, of which 60 per cent are vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. (photo credit: International Business Times)

Compare the virus news with this. So far, 10,000 people have died from influenza  in the USA and 180,000 people have been hospitalized during the 2019-2020 flu season, according to preliminary estimates from the USA CDC.

CBC Canada often shows the spread of the outbreak, quite correctly, by using a world map coloured bright red for countries having a case or cases of the virus. While this map with solid colours may be accurate, it certainly affects me psychologically in a different way than if the numbers of coronavirus cases were shown in each country. In my opinion, a much better tool is this one put out by John Hopkins Hospital.   

This map, (thank you Ben for sharing it with me) shows the spread by cases and to my simple mind is less frightening than the maps where whole countries are blocked off in red. The map not only shows the number of case deaths, but also those who have recovered from the virus, an encouraging stat and one not often mentioned in the media. If one zooms out on the map, one can see how minimal is the number of cases detected world-wide. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should be less vigilant, but only that there is no need for panic. It’s good that countries with less able health authorities and fewer resources can be offered help by the global community in fighting the virus.

We have all been encouraged not to be overly concerned about catching this virus. We should continue to do the simple, efficient things we can do as when dealing with a’flu outbreak. We can wash our hands regularly. We can keep our hands from our mouths (maybe this will help me cure my nail-biting habit). We can sneeze or cough into a tissue (not as formerly advised into our elbow sleeves, for the virus can remain on those sleeves) then discard the tissue into the waste bin. Above all, we can cooperate and not allow ourselves to panic in any way.


‘Bye for now and God bless.

People Of The Rock

(Photo credit CBC

About a week ago, the people of Newfoundland were hit by a monster storm. The storm dumped massive amounts of snow and delivered the snow with icy blasts of hurricane force winds, some of which exceeded 150 Kph. A state of emergency was declared. It allowed no one to be out in the storm and even prevented the drivers of snow ploughs to be out and about. For some days, the storm continued wreaking havoc and the islanders hunkered down.

As the storm gradually abated, the state of emergency was partially lifted, not wholeheartedly but in various areas where people could get out. Gradually, people were able to get some food supplies and medicines. The city of St. John’s was one of the last areas to have the state of emergency lifted. This was due to the hilly nature of the city making it difficult to remove snow. Neighbours helped each other by digging tunnels to front doors, by shopping for others and by sharing the food some of them had stocked.

I was watching the National News on CBC last night and was almost in tears as I watched the dignity, humility and generosity of the people of Newfoundland. Line ups for food went around the block several times, yet no one was pushing and shoving, no one was grabbing food Black Fiday style. Each person was looking out for his /her neighbour. Taxi drivers, given permission to be out on the road,  offered rides for free! There were so many other examples of how the people on The Rock were pulling together as the state of emergency continued.

Newfoundlanders…you are an example to the rest of us in  Canada. Good for you guys and thankyou!

(If you’d care to watch a video snippet about this story click here. 

The credit for this video goes to CBC. It’s a clip from The National.)

‘Bye for now folks and God bless.

A Fine Time

Today our little squad of curlers, the Numnuts participated in a one day bonspiel at the local curling rink. As you can see they are a motley crew.

The ‘spiel was organised by one of the teams and the object was fun for everyone. That happened in spades though Peter looked a little worried pregame.

Dave seemed happy wearing his Gran’s best green nightie even though he got the ruff collar back to front. Al as always had not managed to get Jan help him dress.

Darrel loves to chat and he and Dave kept their jaws warm even though their own team’s rocks sailed past them. The sign behind them seemed quite appropriate for this occasion. Sweeping? What’s that?

The team even won a novelty prize for most number of rocks biting the button in one game. Their prize was a small bottle of moonshine each. Lord help us next week! Al even had to consult Google maps to get home!

The lads had a good time. They’ll even be allowed to curl next week!

Goodbye for now and God bless.

Operation Popcorn 2019

This morning, friend Sid Popham and I presented boxes of popcorn to the ER and ICU departments of our local hospital. The popcorn is donated by the British Columbia Transplant Society to hospitals in BC which participate in the retrieval of organs for transplant purposes.

Sid received a heart 20 years ago and is doing fine. In fact he’d just finished playing in an old timers’ ice hockey game when he joined me.

Other volunteers were to have joined Sid and myself but had to withdraw at the last moment. Two were parents of a young lad whose organs were donated after his death. Another is the mother of a two time heart recipient now at college. My son, a two time heart recipient was called in to work this morning. However, Sid and I got the job done.

Below are more pics from this morning. I am always amazed at the reactions of the staff. Most of them tear up as they see the living proof that their efforts in the retrieval process are not in vain.

Goodbye for now and God bless!