Canadians should accept that their old way of life is gone for the foreseeable future in order to make decisions that will help reduce the transmission of COVID-19, one public health expert warns.
The warning comes after Quebec reported 1,107 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, while Ontario reported 653.
“Speaking to my colleagues back east, there are a few things that are clear. Many people are not accepting that the old normal is gone for a long time […] and, second, people are choosing to make decisions in their everyday lives that enhance viral transmission,” Vancouver-based infectious disease expert Dr. Brian Conway told CTV News Channel Saturday.
“In addition to the measures that have been put in place, we need to develop strategies to encourage good decision making on a day-to-day basis.”
In an effort to curb the spread, areas of Montreal and Quebec City, along with a region south of Quebec’s capital, are under enhanced restrictions for 28 days. Bars, casinos, concert halls, cinemas, museums and libraries have shuttered and restaurants are limited to takeout.
Meanwhile, Ontario issued a province-wide mandate for face coverings and paused social circles, advising that all Ontarians only have close contact with those who live in the same household.
Though the measures are necessary, Conway says there needs to be increased public health messaging encouraging Canadian’s to make educated decisions about socializing.
“We have it within our power to choose to be safe and we need to get messaging out there so that people feel good about making the right decision,” he said.
“We need enhanced public health measures for some time until people get used to this – embrace the new and better normal – and hopefully things will get better shortly.”
On Saturday, Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the country is running out of time to prevent a large resurgence of COVID-19, noting that the chance of doing so "narrows with each passing day of accelerated epidemic growth."