Looking at the history of SARS, I found it odd that during the outbreak they openly planned a benefit concert in Toronto where there were 150,000 in attendance. SARS was actually more deadly than COVID, but no one had any concerns about social distancing then.
There is and was a lot of misinformation about SARS. As someone who lived in Toronto at the time (and still does), let me dispel some of the myths, including that SARS and Covid-19 are supposedly similar, so what works or doesn't work for one should work or not work for the other. Like Covid-19, SARS is spread primarily by human excretions. That is about as close as they get. That will also explain why having that concert was OK, but a similar concert in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic is not.
As an aside, the SARS epidemic was also when I gave up and realized how much the quality of reporting at CNN had deteriorated. I finally understood that they had become all about the "visual soundbite". The first clue was after 9/11 in 2001, when they showed a close-up shot of some radical Muslims gathered "en masse" in a refugee camp in the Middle East, celebrating the fall of the twin towers. It left the impression the whole camp of several thousand were celebrating. A later video from further back and a wider field-of-vision showed they were a small, isolated group in a huge camp. They pulled the same stunt in Toronto. It caused an unjustified drop in tourism that year. They showed all these people in Toronto with masks on, as if everyone was wearing them and felt endangered and in a panic. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The only people wearing masks were those going in or out, or employees taking a "smoke break", at the 3 or 4 hospitals actually treating the SARS patients.
First and foremost, SARS was a locally limited epidemic, not a global pandemic. Second, it is more deadly, once contracted, than Covid-19, but is much harder to contract and not easily spread. It is spread only when symptomatic and requires direct and prolonged contact. Covid-19 is much more contagious and can be spread even when asymptomatic. SARS was spread primarily within hospitals when proper contact and cleaning protocols were not initially followed with respect to an infected patient. In Toronto it was restricted to a few individuals who had returned with it from S/E Asia. It was never loose in the general population. Unless I drove past one of the hospitals, I never witnessed anyone else wearing a mask. There was also NO transmission to hospital staff, unlike Covid-19.
SARS in Toronto lasted for a little over 6 months, from February to September 2003, and was primarily restricted to a few hospitals where the treatments were occurring. There were a total of 438 confirmed or suspected cases in Canada, resulting in 43 deaths, mostly in the Greater Toronto Area. As of today, there are currently just over 69,000 cases of Covid-19 in Canada, including 20,545 in the Province of Ontario. The death toll so far is 4,906 in all of Canada and 1.669 in Ontario and we are not done yet. While those rates are much lower per capita than in the USA, they are certainly much higher in total than with SARS and much more widespread, despite significantly tougher measures taken with the Covid-19 pandemic. So please let's stop using SARS as any sort of reference point. The two viruses, while related, are completely different.