Stories of SARS Survivors From Toronto

Between 2002 and 2004, a novel coronavirus originated in Southeast Asia and traveled the world. By the end of the epidemic, countries in every continent were affected. A total of about 8,000 cases and about 800 deaths were reported. One city that was particularly affected was Toronto, Canada. There, a total of 224 reported cases and 38 confirmed deaths led to a time of major concern that the epidemic would spread throughout the city and then the country. While that epidemic was not a pandemic according to the World Health Organization, it had all the markings of one: It was a new disease with localized epidemics on every continent except Antarctica.

Like the New York City COVID-19 epidemic early in this current pandemic, one which resulted in over 19,000 confirmed deaths, there is much to be learned from the epidemic in Toronto. How did it begin? How could it have been contained? And how was it brought under control?

In this video, reporters conduct interviews of people who were there in Toronto and survived the epidemic. The video is about 15 minutes long.

Author: René F. Najera, DrPH

I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, an online project by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. All opinions expressed on these blog posts are not necessarily those of the College or any of my employers. Check out my professional profile on LinkedIn: Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen