By MPP Toby Barrett
On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) received report of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China. On January 3 and 8, 2020, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health emailed this information to all 354 Ontario public health units.
By January 23, 2020, the WHO had identified the outbreak as very high risk in China, and globally. Canada’s first presumptive case of the Coronavirus was a Toronto male who had just returned from Wuhan on January 25. By the end of February, COVID-19 had spread to over 50 countries.
As Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk reflects in her Special Report on COVID-19 Preparedness and Management, 2020 will be known as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nobody could have predicted the toll this would take, and continues to take, on lives and the economy in Canada.