Your guide to COVID-19 and its impact on life in Canada | CBC News

Your guide to COVID-19 and its impact on life in Canada | CBC News

CBC News has compiled stories, explainers and videos on a wide range of topics to help provide guidance with the latest information on coronavirus, and practical living tips to help you protect your health.

With a deluge of news about cancelled events together with conflicting information about what to do — or not do — the COVID-19 pandemic is causing confusion, uncertainty and worry among many Canadians.  (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Travel restrictions, school closures and event cancellations are being announced every day. And phrases like “self-isolation” and “social distancing” have now entered the collective lexicon.

It’s certainly difficult to keep track of all the latest developments of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

CBC News has compiled a roundup of stories, explainers and videos on a wide range of topics to keep you up to date on the latest information about the coronavirus.

Latest guidance for Canadians on travel, quarantines and what to do if you have symptoms

Advice amid the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly and causing confusion, uncertainty and worry for many.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would close its borders to anyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident with some exceptions, such as American citizens, diplomats, flight crew and the immediate family of citizens. He also advised that Canadians currently abroad should return as soon as possible.

“Let me be clear,” Trudeau said. “If you’re abroad, it’s time to come home.”

Trudeau also said that no travellers showing symptoms will be allowed to board a flight to Canada. Read more here.

WATCH | What to do if you’re self-isolating at home for COVID-19:

You might choose to self-isolate at home if you’ve been exposed, or think you’ve been exposed, to COVID-19. Ellen Mauro explains what to do. 1:50

Do I have COVID-19, the flu or a cold?

Public health officials believe the rate of COVID-19 cases in Canada is going to get worse before things start to get better. If you feel sick, when should you get tested? 

Some basic facts about the virus, its symptoms, prevention and what to do if you believe you are infected. Read more here.

WATCH | Coronavirus — What are the symptoms?

It starts out looking like a regular flu. But when the virus attacks lung cells, shortness of breath ensues, says family physician Dr. Peter Lin. 0:27

Will warmer weather stop the virus?

While the public and experts alike had hoped that the spread of COVID-19 would slow when warmer summer months arrived in Europe and North America, as happened in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic, that no longer seems likely. Though Southeast Asia has close travel, business and investment ties with China, there were few reported cases until recently. Health experts say that wasn’t due to its hot climate, but was instead caused by limited testing and under-detection.

“People in Europe hope warm weather will kill the virus,” said Tikki Pangestu, a professor at Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. “I doubt this will be the reality.” Read more here.

What’s the difference between quarantine and self-isolation?

There are a lot of different terms floating around out there for ways to keep yourself healthy. Canadians should take different precautions based on their level of risk, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Here are the basics:

  • Isolation is recommended for a symptomatic individual who is suspected of having, or known to have, COVID-19. They are directed by PHAC to isolate themselves at home and avoid contact with others until the agency has advised that they are no longer considered contagious.

     
  • Voluntary home quarantine (also known as self-isolation) is recommended for an asymptomatic person, when they have a high risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 (through close contact with a symptomatic person or their body fluids). They are asked to self-isolate at home and avoid contact with others. All travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days after returning from trips outside of Canada.

     
  • Mandatory quarantine is the imposed separation or restriction of movement of individuals, groups or communities for a defined period of time and in a location determined by PHAC. An individual in mandatory quarantine is asymptomatic but may have been exposed to the virus causing COVID-19. 

What products are actually helpful?

As people hunker down at home, products are flying off the shelves — everything from disinfectant to toilet paper. But what should you actually spend your money on?

If you’re buying hand sanitizer, make sure it’s at least 60 per cent alcohol. The old-fashioned habit of washing with soap and water works, too. 

A person wearing a face mask stands on Swanston Street after cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 29. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

If you’re sick, wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of germs to others. But a mask won’t necessarily protect you from catching the coronavirus. Read more here.

WATCH | What we actually know about the coronavirus:

Information about the coronavirus outbreak is spreading fast, but what do we actually know about the illness? CBC News medical contributor and family physician Dr. Peter Lin breaks down the facts about what it is, where it came from, how it spreads and what you can do to protect yourself. 5:10

How COVID-19 support groups can help during self-isolation

As coronavirus cases continue to rise, more Canadians are being asked to self-isolate at home for a two-week period  if they are symptomatic, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are returning from travel abroad or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the illness.

Online support groups are being used to help at-risk community members and others struggling to get essential supplies, or even jobs. Read more here.

WATCH | Coronavirus — How is it treated?

There’s no vaccine, so doctors are offering “supportive treatments” instead, says family physician Dr. Peter Lin. 0:50

Why health experts advise cancelling cruises

Starting on April 2, cruise ships with more than 500 people on board won’t be allowed to dock at Canadian ports until at least July 1. The reason? The current generation of cruise ships, and the combination of close quarters, poor hygiene and passenger mix can function like a petri dish, creating the perfect environment for the spread of a plague, say health experts. Read more here.

WATCH: Coronavirus — Where did it come from?

It started with animal to human transmission. But the novel coronavirus is now spreading between people. 0:25

How should I explain what’s happening to my kids?

Explaining the coronavirus to children without upsetting them is a dilemma. Youth psychiatrist Dr. Rachel Mitchell, with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, said it’s important to validate fears held by children, to listen to them and to be sure to speak to them at the age-appropriate level. If they have asked questions, answer them honestly, and don’t share any more information beyond what they asked. Read more advice here.

CBC Kids has published an informative video about social distancing just for them. Find it here.

WATCH | Coronavirus — How can you avoid catching it?

By now, you likely know not to touch your face. But if you do suspect you’ve already caught it, reach out by phone for assistance, says family physician Dr. Peter Lin. 1:02

Should pets be quarantined?

A dog in Hong Kong originally tested positive for the coronavirus, but later tested negative. The dog in question is still in quarantine and further tests are pending. Experts say that while dogs can be carriers of the virus, there’s no indication they can spread it to humans. Read more here.

WATCH | Coronavirus — How does it spread?

You play a role in how effectively the virus moves from person to person, says family physician Dr. Peter Lin. 0:48

What you need to know as an employer or employee about COVID-19

If symptoms should strike, what obligations does your employer have toward you and what rights do you have as a worker? Are employers under obligation to keep paying you, even if you cannot report to work? Read more here.

WATCH | Can coronavirus be spread by people with no symptoms?

A report in the New England Journal of Medicine claimed a woman who wasn’t showing symptoms triggered a chain of coronavirus infections. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch explains how the report got it wrong. 3:25

Is coronavirus ravaging your investment portfolio? Here’s what you need to know

Investment portfolios have taken a beating as stock markets roller-coaster over concerns of the virus’s impact on the economy. Should people hold on to their investments? Read more here.

WATCH | Tips on how to fly germ-free:

Flying during the coronavirus outbreak? Microbiologist Keith Warriner breaks down the steps you can take to protect yourself while travelling. 2:34

Why experts say we need to increase social distancing

The spread of COVID-19 cases in Canada with no known link to travel — called community transmission — is likely already underway, doctors and infectious diseases specialists say. Many think there are thousands of unreported cases, and the time to act to limit them is now. Read more here.

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