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Re Women Are The Pandemic’s Voice Of Reason And Authority – And That Matters (Amplify newsletter, April 17): I believe women are the essential core of human culture and should always guide the major decisions of every society. It feels like we are now experiencing this in the most significant crisis of our time.
The number of women in scientific, medical and senior public professions has been surprising to me; the calmness and steadfastness they bring to their work is impressive. For sure, there have been missteps and corrections, but I have seen their leadership remain deliberate, their goals never in doubt, and our trust almost visceral.
Our women stand out as skillful, dependable and honest leaders, and they bring something quite rare to leadership: humility and profound grace.
Frank Giampa Port Coquitlam, B.C.
Race for data
Re Crucial Data Gaps Hurt Pandemic Response (April 24): I recall hearing from political and health officials that “COVID-19 does not discriminate,” yet demographic data say otherwise. The fact Ontario is not collecting sociodemographic data such as race seems to say a lot about the inequities we continue to hide.
Why can’t we go beyond age and gender? Race is an essential social determinant of health that we shouldn’t ignore when it comes to words, actions and outcomes.
Gurneet Dhami Vaughan, Ont.
Week to week
Re B.C. Expanding Availability Of COVID-19 Testing To Fight Community Spread and Ontario Says It Will Develop Plan To Test Everyone In Long-term Care Homes For COVID-19 (April 22): I will be happy to come out of this self-imposed and “strongly recommended” self-isolation when we have more than 37 million tests available per week in Canada – one test per person per week. When we have that, we will have data I find sufficient.
With data we can have a road map and plan for our future. Meanwhile, please wake me up when it is over; I hope to survive that long.
Geoff Sheffrin Brampton, Ont.
Onward in Ontario
One year ago, columnist André Picard wrote a prescient piece about Doug Ford’s plan to cut $2-billion in public health funding and reduce the number of public health units in Ontario (The Perils Of Neglecting Public Health – April 22, 2019): “When you invest in public health, the benefits lie in the future; they go largely unnoticed, even by those who benefit. That helps explain why we spend so much on sickness care, and so little on illness prevention.”
Mr. Ford has now been praised by many for his steady leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. He appears to be listening to public health specialists and working co-operatively with other levels of government, rather than springing huge cuts in funding without consultation.
I hope that, like St. Paul, he has truly had his conversion on the road to Damascus and understands the vital need to fund long-term public health initiatives.
Ian Darragh Toronto
Re Province Prepares To Gradually Reopen Economy (April 21): I believe Doug Ford is conflating his COVID-19 response plan for Ontario with his plan for Toronto. The Greater Toronto Area accounts for the majority of confirmed cases, with the remainder spread across a broad geography. Outside the GTA, Ontarians who continue reasonable public health precautions should have no reason to fear a surge in the number of cases.
Yet I’ve seen indications that we will all have to wait until Toronto gets a clean bill of health before we can move forward. So the hardware store owner in Smith Falls, the hairdresser in St. Thomas, the server in Wawa – all would continue to suffer personal and financial hardships that may last for years, even if their communities are ready to open before Toronto.
At this point, Mr. Ford should empower local and regional jurisdictions to determine how they want to proceed in ways that work best for them. Ontario is more than the GTA.
Kristina Bendikas London, Ont.
Re What Is My Province Or Territory’s Coronavirus Lockdown Like, And When Will It Be Lifted? A Guide (Online, April 24): Provinces should have a common standard for “a gathering.” As a former faculty member in a university department devoted to preventive and mental health, I am concerned about the wide variation in definitions, from a maximum of 50 in British Columbia to zero in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Prince Edward Island.
This number is perhaps the most significant of factors in contagion and mortality from COVID-19. Is it not time to have a common conservative and enforced limit across the country to keep gatherings to as small a number as possible? Unanimity in prevention, as well as in testing, treatment and allocation of medical supplies, should be paramount.
Heather Wood MacFadyen Canmore, Alta.
It seems to me the definition of what can open as an “essential” service needs to be re-examined, especially as governments look to phase in recovery plans. Why is it that a drugstore, convenience store, grocery store or liquor store can stay open, but the dry cleaner, shoe repair, florist, housewares shop or cigar store cannot? I don’t get it.
Stores allowed to open follow physical-distancing guidelines and often require customers to wait in line to reduce capacity inside. We are getting used to it and that’s okay. So why can’t other stores operate under these same conditions?
We can debate the definition of what is truly essential. But it would not change the fact that small business helps run this country, and they will be needed to help bring the economy back.
Jerry Hartman Owner/operator, Cigar Studio; Toronto
I work in a retail store that is still allowed to open. Despite this pandemic raging across the country, despite the many warnings, too many people just don’t get it. Our society has relied on retail therapy for far too long.
The only way people seem to relieve boredom is by shopping. I see full cars pull up and disgorge passengers who flood into the store to “look around.” One person bought just two boxes of Kraft Dinner. Husbands and wives come to the door and, when told only one can enter, they argue that they don’t shop for each other. Incredible!
What part of stay home and save lives don’t people get? We should adjust to the new normal or the government should close all retail stores for two weeks, then bring in stricter guidelines for essential shopping.
Randy Sterling Blenheim, Ont.
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