With the word “new normal” being thrown around, Canada’s top doctor gave a summarized definition of what to expect in the next few months. 

According to Dr. Theresa Tam, the “new normal” would include the recognition that COVID-19 has not yet been eliminated and that it is in all countries around the world. 

She said the federal government is looking towards things like serological surveys to see how much of the population may have been infected with a virus in the past. However, based on international surveys so far, Tam suspects that percentage is going to be relatively low, so there’s not going to be a lot of immune people in Canada. 

She said the new normal means that extreme caution has to be practiced when it comes to relaxing public health measures. Tam said Canadians must continue to observe some public health practices like staying home when you’re sick and washing your hands. She added, of course, physical distancing means that the public will not be seeing mass gatherings anytime soon. She said provinces will continue to look at small gatherings, particularly ones of importance to the cultural and social contexts of Canada, for the possibility of doing those gatherings in a very safe manner. 

Tam said Canadians will have to change their approach to those normal gatherings, like the need to maintain your own little bubble at a distance from others when in public. She said in this new environment, Canadians will continue to see grocery stores with social distance markers, as well as plexiglass to protect workers. 

Tam said what fundamentally characterizes the new daily life is that it will not look the same as before January and so everyone should listen very carefully to their local public health authorities.