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Head intensivist Dr. Ali Ghafouri, second left, meets with his health care team doing his morning patient rounds in the intensive care unit at the Humber River Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on April 13.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

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Different approach

Re Is A COVID-19 Endgame Still In Sight With BA.5 Spreading Fast? Not With Vaccines Alone (Aug. 3): COVID-19 does its worst damage to those over 60. Perhaps it is time to speak directly to different age groups and not generalize, which can lead to misunderstandings.

If I were under 60, I would calculate that my shots are working and if I caught the virus, at worst I would end up with bronchitis. But I am over 60. I am uncertain of the outcome if I collide with COVID.

U.S. scientist Eric Topol has linked age to comorbidities, such as obesity or diabetes, which make one more vulnerable to COVID. He states that “age is especially important given immunosenescence, the less potent immune response generally mounted with advanced age.”

Specific information relevant to each age group and consistent with common sense might help shape behaviour that would tamp down the spread of COVID.

Douglas Clarke Toronto

Foreign policy

Re ‘We Need To Get To The Bottom Of This’ (Aug. 5): I think it’s time for us, as voters, to be deeply concerned about Global Affairs Canada.

We hear that rules established under Stephen Harper, notoriously averse to our long-established diplomatic presence in the world, are still in place regarding our treatment of embassy staff where safety is concerned.

The Foreign Minister’s response to the policy’s most recent example in Ukraine seems to mirror that of other areas in which she professes no prior knowledge. My question becomes, among many: Who is running this show?

Along with an insignificant presence in Beijing since former ambassador Dominic Barton’s departure and continuing internal debate over Canada’s vital Indo-Pacific policy, we are entering a dangerous stretch and I see no signs of a clear road map.

Patricia Hanley Toronto

We moan about the political and security threats posed by China, yet seem to see no connection with these issues and the massive and growing trade deficits with that country. In 2021, Canada’s trade deficit with China grew to $57-billion.

One connection is clear to me: As Canada continues to hollow out our industrial base and our economy stagnates, capital investment in the country is in decline. Currently, Canada’s action plans still allow these trends to worsen.

Where will we be in five to 10 years?

Tony Hooper Toronto

Re Russia’s Defeat Is Looming In Ukraine (Aug. 5): The G7 suggests that Western companies be allowed to participate in moving Russian oil, but only if all involved agree to pay no more than a capped price, thereby putting the squeeze on Russian oil revenue. This would be little more than another half-measure in response to Russian aggression – and do nothing to secure funds to rebuild Ukraine.

If the European Union and NATO are serious about halting the Russian invasion and blockade of Ukraine, and stopping further Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, then it would be necessary to block Russian tanker traffic. Close off the Turkish Straits from the Black Sea and the Danish Straits from the Baltic Sea.

Mike Priaro Calgary

High and dry

Re Is Canada Ready To Help Quench The U.S.’s Freshwater Crisis? (Aug. 1): The question raises its ugly head once more. My answer: a resounding no.

This would begin only as appeasement. Never-ending demands, accompanied by U.S. threats, would follow.

Just recall the career of William Mulholland, who pushed for and built a 375-kilometre aqueduct that drained water resources from a large part of California to feed Los Angeles. In time, the city became the largest in the state despite its location, which was even then known to have inadequate rainfall. It’s no surprise that the confiscation from neighbouring regions led to California’s “water wars.”

Leave trouble alone. We do not need U.S. water wars in Canada.

Robert Fripp Toronto

Of course Canada should share its water resources.

Water is essential to sustain life on Earth, and Canada has freshwater in abundance while the U.S. southwest is parched. Before long, water may be the most valuable commodity on the planet.

If we don’t share it, sooner or later we’ll likely be forced to. And, yes, we should leverage it (fairly) for the mutual benefit of ourselves and our neighbours. It seems a no-brainer to me.

Joyce Rowlands Toronto

Water is precious. It is critical not just for Canadians, but for our ecosystems. We have a lot of water, but we also have a lot of land.

We should do all we can to protect our water and only give it up – if we ever have to give it up – as a horrible last resort when all else has failed.

Robert Girvan Author, Who Speaks for the River?; Toronto

In the 1986 book Cadillac Desert, environmentalist Marc Reiser famously observed that in the Western United States water can run uphill, toward money.

While no one can doubt the severity of the current drought there, the water “crisis” is a self-inflicted wound. Irrigated agriculture is by far the largest source of non-sustainable water demand in the West, and much of that demand relates to Americans wishing to grow rice, almonds and other high water-consuming crops in the desert.

Americans have a choice. They can continue to nourish the demand for water through cockamamie water import schemes – piping water from the Mississippi River is the current dream – or they can modify water use in water-short regions.

Fortunately for Canadians, most Americans are starting to understand their water problems, and there are sufficient water supply schemes in the continental U.S. to satisfy those who will not learn.

R. A. Halliday Saskatoon

Re Drought-stricken Lake Mead Reveals Its Buried Secrets (Aug. 4): Eighty-seven years ago in Nevada, “a cactus-covered waste” was flooded and became a 20th-century marvel that was able to host up to 1,200 recreational boats a day.

That was progress and, sadly, it would still be promoted and considered progressive today.

Bill Bousada Carleton Place, Ont.

Not I

Re A Global Fight, One Country At A Time (Editorial, Aug. 4): Everyone wants to fight climate change, but no one wants to pay the price.

The poor and starving can’t afford it. The middle is content. The rich love and indulge their pleasures. Everyone wants more. No one wants less.

It’s not the oil companies. It’s us.

Larry Rosenberg Hamilton

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