Health authorities have mobilized to stop the spread of a new illness, hoping to avoid a repeat of the SARS outbreak of 2003. Here’s what you need to know

Health authorities have mobilized to stop the spread of a new illness, hoping to avoid a repeat of the SARS outbreak of 2003. Here’s what you need to know

Mecca, March 6: Worshippers watch cleaning crews sterilize the Kaaba inside the Grand Mosque, after Saudi authorities emptied Islam’s holiest site over fears of COVID-19. The kingdom had already suspended the year-round ummah pilgrimage.
ABDEL GHANI BASHIR/AFP via Getty Images
The latest
COVID-19 AROUND THE WORLD

  • The global total of COVID-19 infections surpassed 100,000 on Friday as the outbreak reached more countries and the economic damage intensified, with business districts beginning to empty and stock markets tumbling.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump signed a US$8.3-billion coronavirus funding package on Friday, allocating federal money to help local and state governments test for the disease and escalate their pandemic preparations. The administration is also considering tax relief for airlines and cruise-ship companies, The Washington Post reported, citing people briefed on discussions with the White House.
  • Passengers on a cruise ship off the California coast were told to stay in their cabins on Friday as they awaited test results that could show whether COVID-19 is circulating among them. There were more than 3,500 people aboard the Grand Princess, and 235 Canadians listed on the manifest, when the vessels home port of San Francisco barred it from docking on Wednesday.

COVID-19 IN CANADA

  • British Columbia on Saturday declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a long-term care home in North Vancouver after two residents were diagnosed with the virus. The two residents were among six new cases diagnosed in the province on Saturday, the provincial health officer said.
  • A Toronto man diagnosed with COVID-19 used public transit for three days, but the risk to other commuters remains low and no additional precautions have been ordered, health officials said Friday. It was the first known instance of an infected person being on Toronto Transit Commission and GO Transit vehicles.
  • The next federal budget will set aside more contingency money than usual to ensure that we are ready and able to respond to the COVID-19 threat, Finance Minister Bill Morneau told a business audience in Toronto on Friday. He also said support would be announced soon for Canadians quarantined to prevent the coronaviruss spread.

WHAT COVID-19 MEANS FOR YOU

  • With March Break coming up, Canadian families including health professionals face tough decisions about whether to keep or cancel their travel plans. Heres what some of those professionals recommend about how to weigh travel risks. The Globe and Mails Dave McGinn also prepared a guide for parents on talking to children about the coronavirus.
  • The federal Health Minister has suggested Canadians make sure they have enough food, supplies and medication in case they have to stay home for a while. Here are some pointers from dietitian Leslie Beck about how to stock your pantry for a self-quarantine situation.
  • Heres a guide of the other things health officials have said is helpful (and not helpful) to do, and a Facebook Q&A with Globe health columnist André Picard addressing readers concerns about the coronavirus.

What does this virus do?
The new illness that emerged last December in China officially called COVID-19, previously known as 2019-nCoV, and informally dubbed the Wuhan virus after the city where it was found is caused by a coronavirus, a common type of infection among humans and animals. Corona means crown or halo in Latin, describing the viruses typical shape when seen under an electron microscope. The common cold is a type of coronaviral illness, but COVID-19s symptoms (severe coughing, fever and muscle pain) resemble the more serious and dangerous types, such as SARS and MERS. COVID-19s mortality rate is about 3.4 per cent, according to the World Health Organizations estimates.
Check The Globe and Mails guide compiling health officials advice for people who are travelling, sick or have questions about the virus.
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS
INFECT A PERSON?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
The air by coughing and sneezing
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching the eyes, nose or mouth after touching an infected surface
Rarely, fecal contamination
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE VIRUS?
Headache
Runny nose
Sore throat
Cough
Fever
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death
SOME FACTS ABOUT THE VIRUS
Belongs to large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people
There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, but symptoms can be treated
MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada, WHO
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS INFECT A PERSON?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
The air by coughing and sneezing
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching the eyes, nose or mouth after touching an infected surface
Rarely, fecal contamination
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE VIRUS?
Headache
Runny nose
Sore throat
Cough
Fever
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death
SOME FACTS ABOUT THE VIRUS
Belongs to large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people
There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, but symptoms can be treated
MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada, WHO
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS INFECT A PERSON?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
The air by coughing and sneezing
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching the eyes, nose or mouth after touching an infected surface
Rarely, fecal
contamination
COMMON SIGNS OF INFECTION
Headache
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death
Runny nose
Sore throat
Cough
Fever
SOME FACTS ABOUT THE VIRUS
Belongs to large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people
There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, but symptoms can be treated
MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada, WHO
Where has it spread?
1 to 910 to 99101 to 1000Over 1000 cases
What Canada has done
Ottawa, Jan. 26: Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam, right, speaks at a press conference as Health Minister Patty Hadju listens.
Justin Tang/The Canadian Press
So far, there are at least 51 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Canada, mostly in B.C. and Ontario, with some in Quebec and Alberta. The first report of community spread came on March 5, when B.C. health officials announced the diagnosis of a woman in her 50s who hadnt travelled abroad or had contact with any other known coronavirus patients.
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Dozens more Canadians have fallen sick overseas, including those who were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the Japanese coast, which was put under a quarantine in February that only made the spread of the disease worse. Canadians infected aboard the ship remained in Japan for treatment, while those who were cleared were flown back to Canada and quarantined at the Nav Centre in Cornwall, Ont.
Since late February, once human-to-human transmission had been confirmed in the United States, authorities have been warning of more pro-active measures, such as active surveillance for new cases in Canadian communities. Health Minister Patty Hajdu says Canadians can prepare for a possible pandemic by making sure theyve stocked up on groceries and prescription drugs, and by following health officials recommendations about proper hygiene and when to stay home from work or school.
Coronavirus and Canadians: More reading
How the cruise ship coronavirus quarantine backfired
How a Toronto hospital is staying ahead of public health officials in the coronavirus fight
What China has done
Wuhan, March 1: Medical personnel in protective suits wave to a recovered coronavirus patient, newly discharged from the Leishenshan Hospital.
China Daily via REUTERS
Chinas response to the virus is one of the largest-scale public health mobilizations ever seen, with tens of millions affected by quarantine measures. Here are some of the steps officials have taken.

  • Cutting off Wuhan and environs: Chinas government suspended travel to and from Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, and more than a dozen nearby cities in Hubei province. Even local public transit was shut down to prevent the spread of the disease. Some local transit restrictions began to lift on Feb. 24, when China instituted a back to work tide to restart factories and businesses and reverse the economic slump caused by the outbreak.
  • Extending the holidays: The initial outbreak coincided with the Lunar New Year travel season, one of the largest annual migrations of people on Earth. To slow down post-holiday travel that could spread the virus, China extended the holiday, known locally as the Spring Festival, from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2.
  • Banning the animal trade: Given the viruss suspected connection to a wild game and seafood market in Wuhan, the Chinese government has outlawed the sale of all wild animals in China until more is known about how the coronavirus crossed the species barrier.

The Globe in China: Nathan VanderKlippe on the outbreak
Coronavirus outbreak thrusts China into a mass experiment in remote work
Fast, deadly spread of virus on cruise ship and in Hubei prompts questions about response
As the coronavirus spreads, China is losing its control online
In China, officials face conflicting demands: halt coronavirus and revive the economy
China using high-tech surveillance in battle against spread of coronavirus
At the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, Western medicine meets traditional Chinese remedies
SARS: Whats similar, whats different
Toronto, 2003: A man adjusts his protective mask as he leaves the SARS Clinic at the Women’s College Hospital.
Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press
The COVID-19 outbreak has brought back unpleasant memories of SARS, a coronavirus that also originated in China and killed 44 people in Canada. But while the viruses may be similar, and while COVID-19 may have killed more people overall than SARS did, many of the conditions that made SARS such a threat in this country are less serious now.
The impact of SARS: After its emergence from Guangdong province, SARS spread to 8,098 people worldwide and killed 774 people worldwide, according to the U.S. CDCs estimates. Canada was the hardest-hit country outside of Asia: Over all, 44 people were killed in Canada, and 438 Canadians were diagnosed with probable and suspected SARS. It led to billions of dollars in economic losses as visitors avoided Toronto during what came to be known as the Spring of Fear.
Better preparedness: Canadian health officials learned a lot from SARS about early detection of infectious diseases, and many have expressed confidence that they are better prepared this time. B.C. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry, for instance, noted before the first Canadian case appeared that officials already developed a test for the new coronavirus and had some idea of how it progressed, which they did not when SARS first arrived in 2003.
How the viruses differ: COVID-19s mortality rate (3.4 per cent) is lower than that of SARS (about 10 per cent), but it also seems to spread more easily. An early study in the Lancet medical journal found that, in one family in Shenzhen, the new virus produced symptoms within four days of exposure, whereas SARSs incubation period is as long as 10 days. A shorter incubation period means that new cases of infection can be identified and quarantined sooner.
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Timeline of coronavirus onset
Median time from onset of symptoms*
Onset of symptoms
Hospital admission
Intensive care unit admission
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Number of days
Shortness of breath
Acute respiratory distress syndrome
Shenzhen-based family visit infected relatives in Wuhan and return with illness
S
First sign of symptoms*
H
Attended hospital for investigation
Shenzhen
Wuhan
Shenzhen
Healthy family in Shenzhen
Visit infected family in Wuhan
Family return to Shenzhen infected
Dec. 26
Jan. 1
5
10
15
Patient 1: Mother
S
H
2: Father
S
H
3: Daughter
S
H
4: Son-in-law
S
H
5: Grandchild
H
6: Grandchild
H
Did not travel to Wuhan
7: Mother of patient 4
H
S
*Including fever (in 98% of patients), cough (75%), myalgia or fatigue (44%), and others.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: THE LANCET
Timeline of coronavirus onset
Median time from onset of symptoms*
Hospital admission
Intensive care unit admission
Onset of symptoms
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Number of days
Shortness of breath
Acute respiratory distress syndrome
Shenzhen-based family visit infected relatives in Wuhan and return with illness
S
First sign of symptoms*
H
Attended hospital for investigation
Shenzhen
Wuhan
Shenzhen
Healthy family in Shenzhen
Visit infected family in Wuhan
Family return to Shenzhen infected
Dec. 26
Jan. 1
5
10
15
Patient 1: Mother
S
H
2: Father
S
H
3: Daughter
S
H
4: Son-in-law
S
H
5: Grandchild
H
6: Grandchild
H
Did not travel to Wuhan
7: Mother of patient 4
H
S
*Including fever (in 98% of patients), cough (75%), myalgia or fatigue (44%), and others.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: THE LANCET
Timeline of coronavirus onset
Median time from onset of symptoms*
Onset of symptoms
Hospital admission
Intensive care unit admission
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Number of days
Shortness of breath
Acute respiratory distress syndrome
Shenzhen-based family visit infected relatives in Wuhan and return with illness
S
H
First sign of symptoms*
Attended hospital for investigation
Shenzhen
Wuhan
Shenzhen
Healthy family in Shenzhen
Visit infected family in Wuhan
Family return to Shenzhen infected
Dec. 26
Jan. 1
5
10
15
Patient 1: Mother
S
H
2: Father
S
H
3: Daughter
S
H
4: Son-in-law
S
H
5: Grandchild
H
H
6: Grandchild
Did not travel to Wuhan
7: Mother of patient 4
H
S
*Including fever (in 98% of patients), cough (75%), myalgia or fatigue (44%), and others.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: THE LANCET
What can I do?
As COVID-19 spreads, The Globe and Mail has been compiling experts recommendations for Canadians about how to travel safely, maintain proper hygiene and be prepared for disruptive effects on their families and daily lives.
What should you consider before travelling, or staying put?
How to talk to kids about coronavirus
Eight dos and donts to protect your finances in these uncertain times
More reading
Cancellations and business impact
From James Bond to bust: Why the coronavirus might kill the movie business as we know it
Canadian universities plan for video lectures, remote exams if coronavirus epidemic worsens
Coronavirus disrupting business travel as companies restrict trips and cancel conferences
Coronavirus forces small-scale Amazon sellers to look for manufacturers outside China
On the science
Ivan Semeniuk explains: New coronavirus tests scientists ability to tangle with an evolutionary trickster
Race is on as coalition sets tight timeline for coronavirus vaccine
A brief history of plague panic, from the 1600s to todays coronavirus crisis
Commentary and analysis
André Picard: This coronavirus threat isnt over. But the time to tackle the next threat is now
Adrian Lee: For Chinese-Canadians like me, coronavirus is just the latest strain of infectious fear weve faced
David McKeown: Dont let the coronavirus mutate into an epidemic of fear and panic
(Return to top)
Compiled by Globe staff
With reports from Nathan VanderKlippe, Carly Weeks, Ivan Semeniuk, Kelly Grant, Andrea Woo, Paul Waldie, The Associated Press, Reuters and The Canadian Press

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