How coronavirus in Canada compares to other countries as of March 26

Mar 26 2020, 7:37 pm

Canada saw its 600th known case of COVID-19 last Wednesday, March 18, which we took as an opportunity to gauge where we were at in comparison to other affected countries.

We found that Canada had been at least 10 days behind the then-most-affected countries of China, Italy, Iran, and Spain, which had reached 600 known cases on January 23, February 27, March 1, and March 8, respectively.

(These numbers, and the ones to follow in the article below, are supplied by Worldometer, a site run by an international team of developers, researchers, and volunteers that uses an algorithm to pull from a list of reputable sources including government agencies, the United Nations, and the World Health Organization to create a live counter of known coronavirus cases around the world. 

It should also be noted that the numbers presented by Worldometer and reported below are estimates based on the latest information, and that the number of known cases in any given country are merely a representation of tested cases and therefore do not accurately represent the unknowable number of actual cases of coronavirus — though it’s the best we have to go off of right now.)

While no two countries can ever be directly compared — population density, cultural customs, and speed of government responses are all factors that impact how quickly a virus can spread — taking a look at other countries could give us a bit of an idea of what is ahead for Canada, seeing as we were hit by the virus weeks after many other countries.

According to Worldometer, one week after breaking 600 confirmed cases saw China jump to 9,692, Italy to 3,858, and Iran to 5,823.



Spain, which has the closest population to Canada’s and had more time than any of these other countries to prepare for the incoming virus (much as Canada did), saw a one-week increase from 600 to 8,000 from March 8 to March 15.

So how does Canada’s response to the pandemic stack up in the early weeks?

Well, seeing as we broke 600 on March 18 (with 727 known cases by the end of that day, according to Worldometer), one week later finds us at 3,409 known cases as of March 25 — not nearly as bad of a jump as Iran, Spain, or China, but on par with Italy, which is on the cusp of overtaking China for highest number of total known cases with 80,539 and has seen over 8,000 deaths.

canada compares


In the time since our last look at how coronavirus has affected the world as a whole, both the USA and Germany have found themselves with the fourth and fifth most cases, so we will include their statistics as well.

Worldometer shows that America broke 600 known cases on March 9 and in the week to follow would see that total climb to 4,596.

canada compare


Germany saw a spike similar to Canada’s, going from 670 cases on March 6 to 3,675 on March 13.

While the week to come remains uncertain for Canada, taking a look at where these countries ended up two weeks after that 600th case could give us an idea of where we might be heading over the next seven days.

The following week for China saw total known cases rise to 31,161, Italy to 15,113, Iran to 11,364, Spain to 11,826, the USA to 42,781, and Germany to 19,878 — meaning that, given the virus’ one- to 14-day incubation period, a huge spike in cases were likely transmitted over the week prior for all of these countries.

That’s the very same week that Canada is currently living out in our own coronavirus timeline.

canada compare


Futures are, naturally, going to look quite bleak if we’re only taking into account statistics from the six most-affected countries, however.

As previously mentioned in last week’s international update, there are some other countries out there that have managed to keep infection rates to a minimum even after cresting 600 known cases.

Japan saw a one-week increase of just 214 cases since they broke 600, while South Korea jumped from 602 cases to 3,736 cases between February 23 and March 1, though has seen a significant decrease in daily cases in the week since, with only 100 new cases detected on March 25.

canada compares


Denmark has also seen a much slower uptick in new cases since they hit 600 on March 12, with a total of 977 as of March 18.

Japan, South Korea, and Denmark are at totals of 1,399, 9,241, and 1,877 known cases, respectively, as of March 25.

While it appears that Canada is angling a little closer to South Korea’s and Italy’s rate of infection than Japan’s or Denmark’s, we do, fortunately, still have time to act to keep Canada from the exponential spike seen in those six hardest-hit countries.

As for when Canada might begin to see an end to this pandemic, well, those numbers haven’t changed, seeing as no large country other than China has yet begun to see a decrease in active cases.

So here’s what we wrote about it a week ago:

The first day that China started to report fewer infected people than the day before was February 18 — 27 days after they hit 600 cases on January 23.

canada compares


The country reported a significant decrease in the number of new cases around the middle of February, marking roughly one month after China implemented strict measures that included quarantining Wuhan, shutting down rail lines, and erecting roadblocks.

Canada’s and China’s populations, government responses, geography, and infection rates are quite different, but given that China is the only large country that has begun to see a decrease in the number of infected cases, it is the only basis we can currently use to predict when Canada may begin to recover.

That 27 days after seeing a 600th case would, hypothetically, find Canada beginning to see a decrease in the number of infected people by Tuesday, April 14.

It should be noted, however, that Italy reached 27 days after their 600th known case as of today, and while the graph showing the number of active cases has begun a slight curve along the x axis, their 5,210 new cases and only 1,036 recoveries reported on March 25 does not exactly reinforce the whole “recovery begins after 27 days” theory.

canada compares

Newly Infected vs Newly Recovered in Italy (Worldometer)

But again, there really isn’t much else to go off of when predicting how and when this might all begin to ease off, seeing as the world as a whole remains on the left side of the curve we’re all trying to flatten.

And while there is nothing “lucky” about the current state of the world, Canada is fortunate to have been hit by the virus weeks later than some other countries — giving us time to see the severity of the situation and act accordingly.

We may not yet be on full lock-down, but the next few days will be among the most critical for curbing the spread of coronavirus throughout the country. The only better time to act would have been during the days we’ve already lost.

So stay home, self-isolate, physical distance, wash your hands, and know that the sacrifices you make today do have an impact on whether or not Canada will see cases in the thousands, or tens of thousands, in the weeks to come.

Chandler WalterChandler Walter

+ News
+ Coronavirus