Jan 25, 2021

By Jane Brown

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It was not called COVID-19 when the first case of the novel coronavirus was detected in Canada on January 25th, 2020.

It’s been exactly one year since the virus was confirmed in a 56 year old man who was admitted to Sunnybrook Hospital here in Toronto two days prior with what seemed to be mild pneumonia.

But doctors were on high alert since the man had just returned from China where a new virus was spreading quickly and his chest x-rays were also unusual.

“I wasn’t surprised because it was consistent with what we were seeing and what we suspected,” explained Sunnybrook’s Dr. Jerome Leis, “I was actually happy that the lab was able to confirm that. It was a major advancement to be able to actually bring the diagnostics to a level of being able to detect a novel pathogen in such a tight time frame.”

At that time, Canada’s chief public health officer told Canadians, the risk of an outbreak in Canada remains low.

And a year later, after 18,800 COVID-19 related deaths in Canada, the vast majority of COVID patients recover. But even with a recovery some patients will have lifelong lung scarring and permanent damage to their lungs.

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