So imagine my surprise when driving to work yesterday morning I heard on 680 news that Toronto East General Hospital is reporting two cases of bird flu - an elderly couple who had recently visited Bangladesh. The news report also mentioned that Bangladesh had many cases of bird flu.
680 news has a weather guarantee but too bad it doesn't have a news guarantee because pretty soon (after hammering it all through rush hour with titles such as Bird Flu Scare in Toronto and comparison with SARS) it became clear that there was no bird flu.
A Toronto hospital says there's no reason to believe any of its patients have bird flu amid media speculation that a couple who returned from Bangladesh were potential carriers of a deadly strain of the virus.An even forceful denial is found here.
Toronto East General Hospital said in a statement that it has recently treated an increased number of patients with flu-like symptoms, but that there's nothing to suggest any of them have H5N1 avian flu.
Bangladesh has been grappling with an outbreak of the virulent H5N1 strain among animals, but there have been no human cases reported in the country.[Source]
When I first heard the news, my mind wandered over to the SARS crisis. That time, everyone avoided Chinese owned businesses, and Chinatown had become a ghost town. Let's say this bird flu thing was real, would Banglatown (Danforth) become a similar ghost town? I don't think so. We still would have gone down there for our rui mach and lota pata.
It's strange that while one of the most widely reported complaints by other immigrant groups against Chinese immigrants is that they only mix with their own kind, it's Chinese businesses that would have suffered because they need other people. Banglatown apparently is immune.
Meanwhile, Toronto Star recently did a focus on Banglatown. Very ideal and utopia-like a picture it paints of us!
The annual Bangladesh Students Association (at Univ. of Toronto) show, this year titled Nirontor, is on this weekend downtown, and I will be checking it out. Last year I was involved in the show - everyone I keep running into this year asks me if I am doing a sequel! No, this year I will strictly be amongst the audience (which means, yes, I had to purchase a ticket!).
They have increased the prices this year to $15. Every year the prices seem to steadily go up, hopefully this year the quality change will also reflect that upward trend in price. That show is now big enough that the Minister of Education last year came to speak during the intermission, and it gets wide coverage in the community here.