COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada (Plain-Language Summary) | The Canadian Encyclopedia


COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

COVID-19 has a negative affect on respiration. Respiration means breathing. COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. It appeared in 2019. In approximately three years about 759 million people around the world had COVID-19. In Canada, about 4.6 million people had COVID-19. Around 51,447 died in Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic was one of the most dangerous pandemics in world history.

This article is a plain-language summary of COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada.

Structural Morphology of the COVID-19 Virus

Where Did It Come From?

COVID-19 was discovered in China in December 2019. It started in animals. Then animals gave it to humans. Humans then gave it to other humans. The first human cases appeared in Wuhan, China. People might have caught it at a seafood market. Scientists believe that COVID-19 first spread from animal to animal.

The Spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 spread from Wuhan to other places in China quickly. The first person died of COVID-19 on 11 January 2020. Soon after, the Chinese government ordered Wuhan to lock down. They thought the lockdown could stop the spread of COVID-19. By the end of January COVID-19 had spread to Italy. Canada had its first case on 25 January. Five days later the World Health Organization (WHO) said that COVID-19 was an extremely serious threat throughout the world. On 11 March the WHO stated that the world was experiencing a pandemic. A pandemic is a serious disease or infection that spreads quickly internationally.

How Does COVID-19 Spread?

COVID-19 is spread by droplets when people are breathing and aerosols when people cough, talk or sing. The virus cannot survive on surfaces for very long.

Airborne Transmission of COVID-19

Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

To stop the spread of COVID-19, people were told to keep apart from each other (about two metres) and wear masks. By March 2020, countries then started to lock down. China was the first country to lock down. Italy was the first Western country to lock down in March. Following this, sporting events all over the world were cancelled. In fact, all mass gatherings were cancelled. People everywhere were told that to stop the spread they would have to keep apart from one another. This is called social distancing. Schools were closed. Non-essential businesses were closed and borders were closed. By late April more than half of the people on the planet were experiencing lockdown conditions.

Covid-19 Freeway Sign

COVID-19 in Canada

Canada was no different from most other places in the world. The most famous Canadian to get COVID-19 at this time was Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife. By late April, 42,110 people in Canada had COVID-19. About 2,147 people died of COVID-19.

Pandemic Waves and Variants

From March 2020 until July 2022 Canada has experienced seven different pandemic waves. The different waves peak (get higher) and then decline (become smaller). There have also been many different variants (or types) of COVID-19 viruses since the first one hit Canada. Some of the different names given to these variants are “Alpha”, “Beta”, “Gamma”, “Delta” and “Omicron.”

Responses and Vaccines

A large number of Canadians were negatively affected by COVID-19. Many got sick, and many died. Others lost their jobs. To help those people who lost their jobs, the government of Canada provided financial assistance. The government also helped to vaccinate Canadians against COVID-19. This contributed greatly to lowering the number of people who got infected. By March 2023, over 83.4 per cent of Canadians have had at least one dose of vaccine. (See also COVID-19 Vaccines.)


COVID-19 had a drastic effect on the health, economy and social life of Canadians. It also changed the world. It will probably take a long time before Canada and the world can fully recover.

External Links