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Ontario Premier Doug Ford answers questions at the daily briefing at Queen's Park in Toronto on April 13, 2020.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

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Re What Do You Have To Lose By Taking Hydroxychloroquine? Too Much (April 13): Hydroxychloroquine is a very effective drug for many patients with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Since the 1970s, I’ve had the opportunity to examine thousands of patients who have taken it, through my referrals from Ontario rheumatologists.

In my experience, floaters, haloes, eye pain and retinal detachment are not caused by hydroxychloroquine. I am unaware of any patient who has developed eye damage in less than two years of use, so long as they are taking their rheumatologist’s recommended dose.

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The real concern is the hoarding of hydroxychloroquine, which may result in inadequate supply of the drug for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Michael Easterbrook MD, FRCS(C), FACS, professor of ophthalmology, University of Toronto


Re Government Must Explain Lack Of Preparation Ahead Of Pandemic’s Arrival, Head Of Doctors’ Group Says (April 10): I was disappointed with Canadian Medical Association president Sandy Buchman’s statements that the health care system was “not prepared" for the pandemic. Such criticism feels unnecessary, unproductive and demoralizing during a crisis.

Dr. Buchman should be showing leadership with unfettered support for those in charge of public health. He should better support the brave members of his association who are on the front line caring for the critically ill. There will be enough time for navel gazing when this is all over.

James Cox MD, Victoria

Historically speaking

Re Hospitals Consider Ways To Reuse Disposable Masks As Supplies Dwindle (April 11): A retired registered nurse writes: In the days before the use of disposable everything, we used cotton masks and gowns for protection in hospitals. These were easily autoclaved and sterilized for reuse.

One may assume these cotton garments were more comfortable to wear as well.

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Lynda Rickards Oakville, Ont.

Re Canada, Reliant On Foreign Manufacturing, May Not Be Able To Make Its Own COVID-19 Vaccine (Report on Business, April 11): This dilemma highlights Connaught Laboratories, within the University of Toronto, which for more than half a century responded to Canada’s needs for vaccines.

Connaught was founded by John FitzGerald, who made Canada’s first rabies vaccine in 1913 (the U.S. supply was inadequate) and a diphtheria vaccine. The lab stepped up to make tetanus antitoxin for soldiers during the First World War. When Frederick Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin in 1921, Connaught had the facility to take insulin from discovery to effective treatment. My father’s research in the 1930s contributed to this achievement.

During the Second World War, Connaught produced typhus vaccine, penicillin and dried blood serum. Its research was also a key to the polio vaccine in 1955. How did this happen? By visionary leadership committed to the public good.

Today’s global pharmaceutical industry is radically different from the previous century, but can we learn from the past?

David Fisher Calgary

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Maybe I have reached my stay-at-home saturation point, but was it mere coincidence that The Globe and Mail carried an opinion article on the possible lack of access to a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, as well as a tribute to the late, great Mel Watkins who, throughout his fascinating life, decried the stranglehold of multinational companies on the Canadian economy and society? (Mel Watkins: Prominent Socialist Espoused Compassionate Politics – Obituary, April 11)

James Infantino Ottawa

Protect your neck

Re How To Be Ready For The Next Pandemic (Editorial, April 11): As someone who had to source, purchase and stock personal protective equipment for broadcast news crews during the Gulf War, Iraq War, the war in Afghanistan and SARS, I can relate to the stress of anyone tasked with providing PPE in a world of just-in-time supply chains. The phrase “just in time” should have the attached proviso: “until it isn’t” or “until you’re outbid.”

A federal plan was developed in 2006 to handle the type of pandemic in which we are now in the midst, a plan that wasn’t followed through. After this crisis abates, an inquest should be held to find out why and to force corrective change.

Gerrard Weedon Toronto

Sweet charity

Re Some Households Are Saving Money While Isolating At Home. What Should They Do With It? (Online, April 13): While I’m all for putting money aside for a rainy day, or a pandemic, I was disappointed to see no mention of using at least some of our newfound household savings for donations to charities such as food banks, domestic abuse shelters, the United Way etc. We should help support those families who are facing severe financial or social difficulties during the current pandemic.

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Dave Sanderson Carleton Place, Ont.

Re For Shopify CEO, ‘Duty Overrides Comfort’ (Report on Business, April 13): What a much-needed and fantastic story on the couple at the head of Shopify.

I’ve often wondered why people need their name “up in lights” when they are major donors to any needy cause, hospital or otherwise. Do they really think anyone will remember in years to come? The important thing should be the donation, not the name. More power to Tobi Lutke and Fiona McKean for wanting to stay out of the limelight and do what’s right with the ability to help a worthwhile cause.

I’m not in a position to give enough money to have my name on a building. But if I was able to donate such a considerable amount, I would politely decline the opportunity to name myself. Congratulations to Shopify. Their heart is in the right place.

Steven Brown Toronto

Pay it forward?

Re Top Energy Companies Raised Executive Pay In 2019 and Canada’s Energy Sector Has Been Forced To Slash Spending To Deal With Dwindling Cash Flow And Destruction Of Demand (Report on Business, April 11): I choked to read these two headlines on the same page. To be fair, I suppose, the executive pay raises were made before the price collapse, but still.

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At the same time, long-term care staff are paid close to minimum wage. Are we going back to this idea of “normal” once COVID-19 has passed?

Bessa Whitmore Ottawa

The Globe and Mail’s article on energy executive compensation presented to me a far more persuasive case for divestment of oil stocks than the entire green lobby has been able to muster to date.

Roger Tonge Calgary

She said, he said

Re My Uncomfortable Reality: Doug Ford Is The Leader Ontario Needs (Online, April 9): My comfortable reality: Doug Ford is the leader Ontario needs.

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Ricardo Di Cecca Burlington, Ont.

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