More Canadians have now died of coronavirus than SARS

The novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has now killed more Canadians than SARS.

As of Friday afternoon, federal and provincial health authorities were reporting more than 4,500 Canadian cases of COVID-19, with 53 deaths.

Back in 2003, the SARS outbreak, which also triggered cancellations and emergency declarations, killed 44 Canadians.

READ MORE: Looking back on Toronto’s 2003 SARS outbreak

Only laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 are included in the 4,500 case total. There are thousands of other cases awaiting test results – more than 10,000 in Ontario alone, suggesting that the scope of the problem is even wider than the reported case total.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 967 active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, province now at 18 deaths

On Tuesday, the City of Ottawa’s chief medical officer, Dr. Vera Etches, said that some mathematical models estimated that the city could see around 4,000 new cases per day at the peak of the outbreak, which is likely still to come.

There were more than 575,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide as of Friday afternoon, according to statistics compiled by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, and more than 26,000 deaths.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

READ MORE: Live updates — Coronavirus in Canada

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

—With files from Beatrice Britneff and Gabby Rodrigues, Global News

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