The first known COVID infection was diagnosed November 17, 2019—almost three months before the disease was named COVID-19.

It's been two years since the world’s first case of COVID-19

After that Nov 17, 2019 patient it wouldn't be until Jan 25, 2020 the first infection was diagnosed in Canada.

Patient One, the first person known to be infected with coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, was identified Nov 17, 2019—two years ago today. The debut instance of COVID contagion was reported by Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, which found that a 55-year-old man in Hubei province was the first person to present with the virus.

Scientists believe coronavirus likely circulated undetected in the region for as many as two months before the first cases were diagnosed, according to a March 2021 report.

It wouldn’t be until late January that the virus would travel to Canada. A man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital Jan 23, 2020, presenting with pneumonia-like symptoms. Two days later a lab would confirm that he was sick with COVID-19, although the virus didn’t have its name yet.

A couple weeks later, on Feb 11, 2020, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses called it “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.” That same day, the World Health Organization named it COVID-19.

COVID-19 would come to Nova Scotia in the form of three presumptive cases, announced March 15, 2020.

Reader, how different does your life look today compared to March 2020? What would surprise you most about how much your life has changed? Please reach out at if you’re interested in speaking for a story about COVID in Nova Scotia.

About The Author

Lyndsay Armstrong

Lyndsay is a city reporter covering all things Halifax, health and COVID-19. She is a data journalist who has covered provincial politics for and represented Nova Scotia in a national investigation into lead in drinking water with the Toronto Star and Global.

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