On a beautiful sunny day along the White Rock strip it’s easy to assume the coronavirus epidemic is likely the last thing from smiling walkers and joggers minds.
Or is it?
As of 1:50pm Wednesday afternoon the World Health Organization had recorded 3,199 confirmed deaths and 93,164 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus globally – including 12 confirmed cases in B.C and nine deaths in Washington State.
So how concerned are White Rock residents with the increasing death numbers plaguing our TVs, smartphones, and radios, especially given the fact Washington state is a mere five minutes away?
Pulse FM’s Vanessa Ybarra hit the strip to find out!
Maureen Beales, White Rock volunteer/ retiree
"You try not to panic"
Retired White Rock resident Maureen Beales called the situation “scary and frightening” but feels we shouldn’t be overly afraid of it.
“We managed to survive SARS and the flu that happened over 100 years ago. We’ve had a hundred years since, we know how to control it, we know how to treat it. I know they’re working frantically to come up with a vaccine and I hope they do soon.”
Despite her realistic mindset, Maureen admits she’s made sure her 101 year old mom has enough prescriptions for the next three months just in case. She also stocked up her freezer with extra meat again, “just in case”.
As for her grandkids. If she had her way they wouldn’t be travelling to Mexico over spring break but “they’re two generations away from me. What do you tell them? That they can’t go?”
Bob Douglas, lived in White Rock 12 years
"I think there's something sinister behind the panic. Are they going to come up with a vaccine for the virus and charge you copious amounts of money?"
Bob Douglas refers to the Coronavirus as “a bit of a storm in a teacup.”
“Personally, I think the media is making more out of it. I’m just not convinced it’s as big of a threat as they say it is. The ones that have died in Washington were elderly, they had health issues, a weak immune system, respiratory problems so it’s attacking the weakest of the bunch. If we’re careful with our contact, I think we’re gonna be all good.”
Where he’s not good with people going all Armageddon at grocery stores like we saw this past weekend at a Richmond Costco.
“Don’t empty the store shelves and stock up like Armageddon is coming tomorrow, ’cause it’s not gonna happen.”
Still, Bob is making sure to use “extra common sense” this flu season, always wiping down things like shopping cart handles and other public equipment before using them.
Lillian Soda, Fleetwood Nursing Student
"I don't really worry about it. Just make sure I'm eating good foods to keep the immune system up."
As a care-aid the last seven years and a current nursing student, Lillian Soda has a string of questions on who exactly are the people dying from the Coronavirus.
“What does their immune system look like? What age are they? What are the genetic predispositions for illness?
Her training has taught her the best method of prevention is staying healthy and happy. Her two pooches help a lot in that department.
“I don’t really worry about it. Obviously it’s a huge concern right now but just as long as you’re washing your hands and do not put your hands near your mouth, face, or nose, especially when you eat, and eating healthy, that’s all you can do.”
“It’s like anything. We’re evolving as a species in evolution in general so there will be new bacteria’s coming up, they make vaccines…this sort of thing has happened before. Just try and take care of yourself and protect it the best way you can.”
Brent Bondarenko, South Surrey Business Owner
For most people, it's a split. They're either taking it too far to the left or too far to the right. Who's right?"
Like a lot of people, Brent doesn’t quite know what to make about the Coronavirus issue.
“It’s hard to gauge it against other diseases that are out there, lots of people are dying from other things too that are way more than what the Coronavirus is but obviously the World Health Organization has various concerns about what’s happening. We all just have to be a little more careful.”
His main concern right now is his pocketbook. The power walker owns a kitchen store in South Surrey where they rely on China factories for a lot of their supply.
“Right now everything is fine, but it’s possibly expected there’s gonna be a glitch in supply of product. For us in our store we do cooking classes so we have a bit of a fallback there, plus a lot of our product is from Europe and the states too, so it’s not all from China, but a significant portion is.”
Bondarenko has made the bold move to stop shaking people’s hands in the last week, opting for a friendly wave or elbow bump instead.
It may look silly, but it could save his life.