Our guide on the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified the COVID-19 virus as a pandemic. It was in December 2019 that the WHO was alerted for an increase in cases of pneumonia caused by this new virus, in Wuhan, China. Since December, this virus has spread across continents, and is now found in Canada. Faced with the international coronavirus pandemic, the Quebec government recently announced the closure of all non-essential businesses and has banned internal and external gatherings of 2 or more people. Quebec also ordered the closure of schools until May. Here is our guide to this pandemic in Canada.

What is COVID-19?
In Quebec, on April 2nd there is a total of 5518 cases, including 36 deaths. What is this virus? COVID-19 is not the first coronavirus identified. There were other types of coronaviruses that spread in the past, including SARS CoV and MERS Cov. In short, COVID-19 can be transmitted between people through close contact. Thus, the fact that Canada is in a situation of confinement, will allow us to maintain a social distance from each other, which will therefore slow the spread of this virus. People who are infected with this virus may not have any symptoms, but for those who show symptoms, they appear about 14 days after exposure to the virus. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu and the common cold. They include a cough, a fever and difficulty to breathe. Some suffer from pneumonia and in severe cases, COVID-19 can cause death. Those who are most at risk are the elderly, those with immunodeficiency, respiratory disease, heart disease or diabetes.

When will the situation end?
Science is constantly evolving in the hope of finding a vaccine and a treatment to counter COVID-19. Thanks to China which has succeeded in sequencing the genetic material of Sras-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19), several groups of scientists around the world have succeeded in creating an artificial virus allowing them to study it in order to determine its properties and find a possible vaccine. Annelies Wilder-Smith, a professor of emerging infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says the vaccine will not be ready for at least 18 months.

Jason Kindrachuk, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba and a Canada Research Chair in new viruses, says the situation will continue until there is a drop in the number of COVID-19 cases. Some prediction models indicating that the situation could last up to 12 months have been criticized for not taking certain important factors into account. In short, we do not know when the situation will end. However, South Korea is giving us hope since this country has applied measures similar to those now applied in Canada and the situation ended in two and a half months. Will it be the same in Canada? It will all depend on respecting public health standards, so it is essential to respect them, apply social distancing and stay at home.

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