the new normal

This is what the new normal will look like in Canada according to Dr. Theresa Tam

What will the new normal look like in Canada? It's the question on every Canadian's mind — and according to Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, the answer is very different.

"We have not eliminated this virus," she said on Tuesday. "It is in all countries in the world."

According to Tam, that means one of the first steps in this brave new world is conducting serological surveys to determine what percentage of Canada's population is actually immune to the virus.

"I would suspect just based on international surveys so far that that percentage is going to be relatively low," she said. "There's going to be a lot of un-immune people in Canada."

So what does that mean for Canada? Well, in terms of daily routines, Tam says a lot of what "fundamentally characterizes Canadians' lives" won't look the same as it did before January 2020.

"Non-essential travel," she said. "We're not going to see that happening."

Tam says that mass gatherings are also off the table until health officials have a "very good handle" on the virus, although she noted that small gatherings will likely be given the green light in certain provinces.

Offices in Canada will also be given a major makeover — and many Canadians might continue to work from home more frequently.

"Work places could look very, very different in this new environment," Tam said, adding that she hopes Canada will capitalize on the recent rise of telemedicine, which has enabled doctors to treat patients virtually.

She also envisions grocery stores continuing to implement social distancing measures, such as plexiglass barriers and markers on the floor to indicate proper distancing.

Tam didn't offer a timeline for how long "the new normal" will last in Canada, but she did say the public health measures in place must be eased slowly.

"I don't think there's an actual measurement," she said, referring to the speed at which Canada will lift distancing measures. "It's not like a car where you sort of have to look at how many kilometres an hour you can drive."

For now, Tam says to listen to your local health authorities, since the new normal will be different in every province — and potentially in every city, as well.

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