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A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Jan. 7, 2021.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

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Never-ending story

Re Ontario’s New Virus Math Doesn’t Add Up (Editorial, Feb. 17): The Globe’s editorial states that “it will be months before vaccination levels are high enough to defeat COVID-19.” Sadly, I believe no vaccine will ever accomplish this feat.

This virus, like thousands of others, is here to stay. As a consequence, there will likely always be surges and variants, lesser or greater, to deal with. If eradication is the goal, then we would all die from the attempt to “cure.”

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Hopefully calmer heads will eventually prevail, and life can continue with the understanding that it involves some risk. This is one answer to the question, “Are we missing something?”

Douglas Andrews Regina

Long-term solutions

Re Long-term Care Is In Critical Condition (Editorial, Feb. 15): After years of scholarly research on the critical issues in long-term care, it seems that politicians and the media have finally taken interest. Caring for our elderly citizens is not a business like any other. Viewing them as a source of profit is reprehensible.

Though the focus on quality of life can be richly rewarding, working in long-term care is neither prestigious nor easy. Even the most dedicated can get ground down by the demands of heavy workloads, low pay and little recognition.

Without a paradigm shift as to how we value society’s most vulnerable members, I fear we will never get the resources to ensure and enhance the quality of life in long-term care. However, focusing on a high standard of care and avoiding profit-driven institutions would be a step in the right direction.

Mary Beck RN; Faculty Emeritus, Douglas College; North Vancouver


Since 1995, Germany has had long-term care insurance (Pflegeversicherung).

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Like health insurance, enrolment is obligatory; contributions are shared equally by employers and employees. The idea behind it is that care needs in old age are as much an actuarial risk as illness: Not everyone will face them, but no one should face them alone and without adequate support.

Basic insurance can cover accommodation in residences or home care by caregivers or family members. Costs are covered up to a certain level, and some contribution from seniors or their families is expected. Additional protection can be bought from insurance companies to provide monthly payments, reimbursements for additional costs or payments for specific days or months when care is needed.

Together with required training for professional caregivers, adequate pay and effective regulation of residences, such a system would do much to improve the appalling state of senior care in Canada.

Bernd Baldus Professor emeritus, University of Toronto


Everyone should agree that there is a crisis in long-term care. But I find the biggest problem is that society does not value the lives of our elders and people with disabilities.

If valued, they would never be warehoused in these institutions which have been proven to fail people. If valued, families would never have been locked out. If valued, there would be adequate supports to allow people to age in place at home.

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Instead, many died unnecessarily, without family by their side until it was too late. Many continue to feel imprisoned and abandoned.

We should have more money attached to people, not beds; there should be significant investment in home care and community supports. When will people rise up and fight against the ageism and ableism which is staining the soul of this country?

Joyce Balaz London, Ont.

Own it

Re Funding Thaw (Letters, Feb. 18): Perhaps it is time that the Ontario government reconsider the 1993 report of the Task Force on University Accountability that was chaired by William Broadhurst. As a member, I can say that the report was comprehensive and placed the responsibility for accountability on the governing board.

The task force said that the duties of boards included “budgeting, deficit controls, financial statements and reports, auditing, management of physical assets, inventory controls, endowments and other restricted funds.” It would be useful to know if the Laurentian University board was receiving the necessary information to perform these duties, and what it did with such information. What did the external auditor have to say in its management letters to the board?

I also agree with other academic letter-writers that the provincial ministry’s actions or inactions should be questioned. As a university vice-president, I had to sign and submit financial statements each year to the ministry.

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Alexander (Sandy) Darling Former vice-president, McMaster University; acting vice-principal, Queen’s University; vice-president, The American University in Cairo; Hamilton

Encore

Re COC’s Alexander Neef Accused Of Importing ‘Cancel Culture’ To France (Feb. 13): So as the new head of the Opera national de Paris, Alexander Neef is looking at “inviting a greater diversity of choreographers and directors to work with the company,” and other equity initiatives such as eliminating the use of blackface. And critics are upset?

Isn’t that a little like a soloist protesting having to sing a duet? Or, oh my, being joined onstage by an entire opera cast? If, as the Bard said, all the world’s a stage, I say move the heck over and let the show go on.

Diane Dyson Toronto

Hair today

Re A Clean Break (Arts & Pursuits, Feb. 13): When I was growing up, we washed our hair every one or two weeks and no one had hair that was smelly, greasy or, heaven help us, had cooties. Somewhere along the line, we were told that hair needed to be washed every day.

Of course, all the washing took the natural oils out of hair, so we were also told that we needed conditioner. At the time, a dermatologist also warned me that frequent washing was very hard on the scalp.

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Because of this created need, instead of buying one bottle of shampoo, we were buying seven, plus as many bottles of conditioner! Meanwhile, seven times the quantity of chemicals were being discharged into our sewer system and eventually into our lakes and rivers.

It seems our change of routines showed us the real truth of what we have been doing to ourselves.

Nina Truscott Burlington, Ont.

Well lived

Re Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Survivor and Talk-radio Agitator Became an Icon of Conservative America (Obituary, Feb. 18): The contrast between the Lives Lived of Fenna Kordan and the obituary of Rush Limbaugh is dramatic, worthy of note and reflection: “Fenna simply wanted there to be a record and an acknowledgment of what happened to her; to have others know that she mattered – that, in fact, we all mattered.” Well spoken. Humble and profound.

Elsie Petch Toronto


Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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