You are living historians right now… you are the primary source for your potential children and family.  You need to develop some real understanding of the virus and how it behaves as well as understanding how it spread to become a pandemic in short order.

Part One: Getting to Know Covid-19

Please read through the articles, watch the video and respond to the questions below (point form is fine as we will use the information later in another form).  Know that you may need to do some research on your own.  Keep track of those references so that you can hand in those as well.  There will be a submission box in Teams.

Zoonosis, Viral Structure and Disease Symptoms

  • What is zoonosis and why are zoonotic pandemics on the rise?
  • What structures can be found on the Covid-19 virus – Detail things we know about it.
  • How does the structure of the capsid make it difficult for our body to fight?
  • What are the range of symptoms with Covid-19  – how come it seems to vary so much?
  • Explain this statement – “Our hypothesis is that covid-19 begins as a respiratory virus and kills as a cardiovascular virus.” – why is this such a dangerous hypothesis?
  • Who holds the key to understanding the nature of COVID-19 and how it crossed to a human host?  Why is this important?

Part Two: Population Dynamics and Disease

Throughout most of human history, the human population has been increasing. However, population has not always been steady and uninterrupted. For example, during the mid-1400s, there was a sharp decline in population as a result of the bubonic plague, or Black Death, that struck much of Europe and Asia. The plague killed more people than any other single disease; it claimed the lives of25 percent of the adult population of Central Europe and Asia. The population of England was reduced by about 50 percent between 1348 and 1379. In addition to the plague, worldwide outbreaks of cholera, typhus, malaria, yellow fever and smallpox have claimed millions of lives. The more densely population cities became, the more quickly diseases spread.

The biomedical revolution of the 20th century has also resulted in increased population growth. During this revolution, the death rates continued to drop as health and hygiene improved. The discovery of antibiotics and vaccines has wiped out or controlled many life threatening diseases. At the same time, birth rates have increased due to better prenatal care.

Infectious Diseases and Human Population History – pdf

This is an older scientific study (1996) and has good historical perspective.

Read through (take a few notes) and focus on ideas from

  • Diseases in the New World
  • Vaccination and the control of human diseases
  • Selection for increased disease resistance
  • Vaccination
  • Infectious diseases today

Population and Disease Outbreak

  • During 1918 how did they flatten the curve for the Spanish Flu? Was there a secondary wave?
  • What were the infection to death rates for the Spanish Flu like? Is this similar to Covid-19?  Can it be used as a template?
  • “There’s a strong correlation between the risk of pandemic and human population density”… explain this in terms of density dependant and density independent factors for human populations. What is in our control to change?
  • What is RO and how does that play into being able to make predictions about number of cases and immunity?

Ecological Change as a Cause of Disease Outbreaks?

Scientists know that the transmission of many infectious diseases is affected by climatic factors: temperature, humidity, surface water, wind, soil moisture and charges in forest distribution. Disease like malaria are especially influenced by changes in these factors, since they require an intermediate organism like a mosquito to transmit the actual disease. It is predicted that climate change altered weather patterns would affect range (latitude and altitude), intensity and seasonality of many infectious diseases. In general, increased warmth and moisture would enhance the transmission of these diseases.

  • Explain the relationship between infectious disease and climatic factors.
  • What specific aspect of climate change would affect the intensity, range and seasonality of diseases transmitted by carriers (mosquitos, flies, etc.) and can bats now be included?
  • Considering an increase in temperature and precipitation to be the most evident direct affect of climate change, what will probably happen to the geographic distribution of diseases spread by mosquitos? Why? What evidence do we have for this?
  • What does urbanization have to do with this?

Part three: Covid-19 by the numbers

Take a look at Canada and the world when it comes to both number of confirmed cases and number of deaths.  Add in two or three other countries of your choosing (may want to include China as it can help by showing first cases).  Look at the data as it plays in Chart mode and in Map mode.  Make some observations about spread of the disease across the world, lag time to Canada etc.

What is the difference between ‘case fatality rate’ and ‘infection fatality rate’ – ultimately what is the mortality risks of Covid-19?  Why is the distinction between the two rates important?  Would this change from country to country – Why? 

View Canada, the US and world data (others too) for the number of deaths – are we bending the curve?

Ponder this – what can (or cannot) the data tell us about the pandemic… what is hiding from these types of numbers and ideas that are collected here.  Explain.


Ontario vs Canada

Take a look through the rate of infection and mortality of Covid-19 in Canada (throughout the provinces) and Ontario. 

Where were the first cases of Covid-19 found?  Does that make sense – Why or Why not?

What have provinces done to limit the spread?  Did it work for them? 

Which provinces have had minimal cases of Covid-19 – why is that happening (think in terms of population dynamics)

For Ontario – look through the Ministry of Health’s report.

  • Case Characteristics
  • Case Transmission
  • Death rates
  • Severity
  • Outbreak data per health unit report (look at Haldimand verse surrounding Health Units)

What do you observe?

Think of the timeline of measures the Ford Government has put into place – evaluate their effectiveness.

Take a look at the framework to ‘Reopen Ontario’.  There are several phases outlined.  Are we following our own plan?  Based on what you know – hypothesize the effectiveness of the plan.

‘Covid Canada cases’ – google search will give you results for Canada and Ontario – updated every 20 minutes

Part Four:  Crowd Immunity

  • How does our immune system fight against viruses like Covid-19?
  • Does this fight provide us with lasting immunity if we were to encounter it again?
  • What is plasma and why might this help us fight Covid-19? Is Canada on the forefront of this new technology to a vaccine?  Outline steps in this process.
  • What is herd immunity? Can this be achieved with Covid-19?  Which researchers or scientists say yes or no?
  • Looking at Quebec – assess the province’s plan to open schools and create a herd immunity within the younger population. Create a pros and cons about this strategies – will this work, are there any potential downfalls?

Up for Discussion...

For class discussion on Thursday….

Knowing what you know about Covid-19, about the spread across Canada and Ontario and the idea of Quebec to open schools to create ‘herd immunity’, should Ontario follow a similar plan?