We have reviewed every confirmed case of COVID-19 in Canada. Here is what we found


The first known case of COVID-19 in Canada was detected eight months ago this week. As of September 22, the coronavirus has been confirmed in 146,663 people across the country.CBC News delved into data collected by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to examine how COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is affecting young people, the elderly, men and women in order to better understand what is most likely to get you to the hospital – or worse.

The data contains details on 121,795 cases through the first week of September. See the methodology below to learn more.

Here are our results.

Who gets the virus?

In the beginning, people over 80 made up the largest group of people who fell ill as long-term care homes were hit hard resulting in more older people being screened.

But CBC analysis reveals that since mid-August infections among young people (under 30) have increased and now, after a summer of provincial reopenings and expanded testing, they are cumulatively outnumbering the elderly. .

COVID-19 infections are also on the rise among younger people (under 20) as schools, colleges and universities reopen.

How does the virus affect us?

Symptoms can vary by age group from youngest to oldest. Chills, sore throat and runny nose have been reported more frequently in those under 50 years old.

PHAC only has symptom data for 7% of the cases in the detailed data because not all provinces report it. How symptoms are defined and recorded may also vary by jurisdiction. But the 9,000 cases that list those details suggest that people with COVID-19 suffer differently depending on age and symptoms.

* Other symptoms may include loss of taste and smell.

Who is hospitalized?

Nearly 10% of people who tested positive for the coronavirus ended up in hospital, according to the cases followed by PHAC.

Two percent of cases landed in intensive care units (ICUs) at all ages, but mostly in people over 50.

In hospitalized people, shortness of breath and fever were more common symptoms, while headache, sore throat and runny nose were more common in milder cases.

In fatal cases, shortness of breath and fever were also more common.

“Keep in mind that mortality is often due to respiratory distress,” said University of Ottawa epidemiologist Raywat Deonandan.

“It is not surprising that those who show an early symptom of this distress [shortness of breath] would be on a shorter path to death. ”

Deaths and serious illnesses

More than 9,200 people have died in Canada from COVID-19.

Of all confirmed infections in Canada, 6%, or 9,274 cases, have been fatal, with the elderly hardest hit. To date, only two people under the age of 20 have died from the disease.

The age gap in the deaths is so large that the graph below had to be stretched so that the younger victims were visible:

More women in Canada have died from COVID-19, especially in the 80 and over age group, where they outnumber men. Outside of this age group, more men are dying from the virus.

Deonandan says differences between men’s and women’s health could affect the results of COVID-19.

“Older men are more likely than women to have serious heart disease. COVID-19 could express mortality through these disproportionate vulnerabilities that already exist, ”he said.

But more men have been hospitalized or wounded in an intensive care unit with COVID-19.


As of September 22, of 146,663 confirmed and suspected cases in Canada, 126,905 have recovered.

Canadian public health data shows healing times for only about 10% of cases.

Older people tend to suffer longer (based on this small sample), which is not surprising given the greater presence of other medical conditions in older people.

Some cases of COVID-19 have taken up to 11 weeks to resolve, although the average recovery time is two to three weeks.

“Seniors are more likely to be hospitalized and need more intensive interventions, which in turn are associated with longer recovery periods,” said Deonandan.

Likewise, more severe cases requiring hospitalization had longer recovery times.

The future

The declining back-to-school pushes health officials to prepare for an increase in exposures and new infections, especially among young people.

Data shows that the youngest cohort, aged 19 or younger, accounts for a growing share of all cases in Canada and, by early September, had overtaken those aged 70.


The primary data source for this article is detailed preliminary information on confirmed cases of COVID-19 compiled by the Public Health Agency of Canada and released by Statistics Canada.

The data is based on a case report form that provincial authorities send to PHAC for each confirmed case.

Provinces may define a confirmed case, symptoms and time to recovery differently, so this should be taken into account when interpreting the data.

Not all provinces report symptoms and cures, and those that do not report in every case. Only about 9,000 of the 121,795 cases in the data contain symptom information, and only about 12,500 cases contain the date of recovery.

The dates of symptom onset and recovery are noted only with the week of the year. Recovery times were calculated by subtracting recovery week from diagnosis week and do not account for possible variations in days.

In some cases, details are excluded or changed by Statistics Canada if there is a risk of identifying a patient in the data. For example, the data does not show any fatal cases under the age of 50, although there were almost 80 such cases in the PHAC Daily Epidemiological Report, which contains the most recent confirmed figures. CBC used daily epidemiological data for the graph of deaths by age and sex.

Data analysis was performed in Python. Questions on how this was done? Contact data reporter Roberto Rocha at [email protected]


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