What about the next pandemic? Coronavirus offers lessons for the future

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Five months ago, when novel coronavirus first erupted in China, the federal government assured Canadians that their chances of catching COVID-19 were low.

Since then, tens of thousands of cases have been diagnosed and the pandemic has affected nearly all aspects of daily life, in Canada and around the world.

The government says it’s emphasizing speed over perfection in its economic response. Aid packages worth billions of dollars, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, were developed and distributed in a matter of weeks. Canadian borders, however, were only closed in March, and provinces across the country are scrambling to deal with personal protective equipment shortages and devastating outbreaks at long-term care facilities.

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By Saturday, May 2, there were 55,572 confirmed cases in Canada and over 3,400 people have died as a result of the virus.

So, what happens next time?

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Dr. Leon Rivlin, chief and medical director of emergency medicine at the Humber River Hospital in Toronto, told Global News that Canada may not see the same spike or volume of patients as New York — the global epicentre of the virus — but could eventually end up with similarly high numbers of patients over a prolonged period of time.


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