COVID-19 is a new infectious disease that was not previously identified in humans before the pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China in December 2019. COVID-19 is part of a large family of viruses known as Coronavirus.

As of May 6th, a total of 3.5 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally, and 250,000 deaths. Canada has confirmed 64,922 cases, 4,408 death, and 29,247 recovered from COVID-19.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), a pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease. It is usually caused by a new virus strain or subtype that becomes easily transferable between humans or by bacteria that may become resistant to antibiotic treatment. As the situation continues to evolve, we are learning more about this new virus every day.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus that had not been previously identified in humans. The virus causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, difficulty breathing and in more severe cases, pneumonia.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. In addition, those with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Pneumonia in both lungs

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Practice Good Hygiene – Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub regularly kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth – Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
    Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • Practice Social/Physical Distancing– limit gatherings to a maximum of 5 people and maintain a 6 foot / 2-meter distance from each other.
  • Stay home –  if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
  • Keep up to date on the latest on COVID-19 – There is so much information out there about the COVID-19 pandemic that it can be overwhelming. IFMA and the local Chapters are working to keep the FM community updated with the latest news, resources, and information to help with emergency preparedness.

Please click on the resources below for more up to date information.


The fight against rumours and misinformation is a vital part of the battle against this virus. Stay informed. Be Prepared.