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Ambulance crew members deliver a patient at Mount Sinai Hospital as officials warned of a "tsunami" of new COVID-19 cases in the days and weeks ahead due to the Omicron variant in Toronto, on Jan. 3, 2022.COLE BURSTON/Reuters

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Pandemic push

Re With Hospitals In Crisis, It’s Time There Were Consequences For Vaccine Holdouts (Jan. 5): Finite systems must have triage procedures to manage peak demand. This is understood at the emergency-room door: Going there with a gash needing stitches on a busy evening, heart attacks get seen first. But now we’re triaging the whole system.

Our critical-care system is predicated on universal, non-discriminatory access. We do not ask if someone was wearing their seatbelt, or if they were a lifelong smoker or running with scissors. Nor does one’s credit balance or credit limit dictate the where and when of emergency care. The urgency of need drives triage; these are fundamental and differentiating values in our country.

So what to do? To accept vaccination or not is a personal choice. However, if unvaccinated, privileges (not rights) to fully participate in society should continue to be constrained. The list of things the unvaccinated can’t do should continue to grow and be strictly enforced.

John Madill Oshawa, Ont.


Re Shutting Down Schools Over Coronavirus Will Be Last Resort, Kenney Says, After One-week Extension Of Holidays (Jan. 5): As a parent myself, I’m sympathetic to those who feel their children’s psychological health is at risk when forced to learn online. I doubt there’s a soul who’d disagree that children ideally need to be in school whenever possible. But fasten those seatbelts, folks: Our children’s needs should be balanced with society’s needs.

Children may or may not be seriously risking their lives remaining in class, but they certainly could be risking someone else’s, if only by circulating the virus and contributing to the strain on our already exhausted health care systems.

Who does need our support most urgently? Our front-line workers – time to make them the priority. I believe children are resilient, more so than us parents.

Peter Spence Toronto

Around the world

Re What Are The Odds Of That In 2022? (Editorial, Jan. 1): In my view, The Globe and Mail’s oddsmakers avoided two potential heartbreakers for 2022: odds China makes a grab for Taiwan, and odds Russian tanks roll into Ukraine.

The wheel is in spin. Rien ne va plus.

Mike Firth Toronto


Re Thousands Of Russian Troops Descend On Kazakhstan Following Deadly Uprising (Jan. 7): Reminder to all those who said the 2022 Winter Olympics should not have been awarded to Beijing: In the end, the only other bid was from Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Andrew Chong Toronto


Re Biden’s Speech Both Rallying Cry And Cry Of Despair Over The Persistence Of Capitol Riot Divisions (Jan. 7): “No president … ever has attacked his predecessor with the force that Mr. Biden brought to bear on Mr. Trump.” I can think of one.

Mark Boudreau Markham, Ont.

What next?

Re What Will Replace The Era Of Globalization? (Opinion, Jan. 1): Columnist Doug Saunders notes how historians often create “Grand Narratives,” citing J. Bradford DeLong’s about a 20th century characterized by globalization, the corporation and rising standards of living. But it is only for developed Western countries.

This narrative is not how the century would be summarized in India, China, Latin America or Africa. It is not even the narrative for some within Western countries, such as African Americans, First Nations or Muslim immigrants in France.

I see our era as beginning after the Second World War. There has been the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights; cold wars and regional wars but no global wars; uneven progress, and sometimes regression, on civil rights, women rights and anti-racism; a significant, though incomplete, commitment from governments to education, health care, employment, income security and pensions.

Looking forward, I feel not the end of an era but more of the same.

George Fallis Toronto

Cash or credit?

Re These Are The Last Days Of Cash. We Might Miss It When It’s Gone (Opinion, Jan. 1): It is my observation that electronic transactions are not necessarily faster than cash transactions. People inevitably mess up PIN numbers, put the wrong end of the card toward the machine and do other things that slow down the pace. Cash has the advantage of being easy to handle.

If a transaction is entirely electronic, it is my (unscientific) observation that prices will inevitably rise. We know that merchants already spread the fees they pay to payment facilitators across their sales, raising prices for everyone, no matter the method of payment. It is easier to raise prices when people do not have a way to measure what that transaction actually costs them – one of the things cash allows us to do.

How many people think about the actual cost of a good or service when reviewing their statements? Indeed, how many people check their statements at all?

Peter Hutcheon Toronto


Many studies have shown one huge effect of paying cash or debit: When money disappears immediately from a bank account, consumers tend to think twice and spend a lot less. In other words, passive “tap tap” spending equals increased spending and delayed payment pain.

Most of us have had that oh-no moment when getting a monthly credit-card statement and hoping there must be some mistake. Hopefully future payment systems can function like a debit card to curtail this insidious habit.

Janet Henri Chelsea, Que.

Read only

Re Could Subtitles Bolster Québécois TV? (Jan. 1): As CBC’s Jenna Bourdeau notes, subtitles provide “the purest, most authentic experience.” I’ve often wondered, then, why the CBC switches to translation when someone speaks French. I find it provides a very inauthentic experience of life in a bilingual country.

If people can cope with subtitles on Netflix, why not on the news?

Valerie Bachynsky Halifax

Cut down

Re Score One For An Outraged Public: Tennis Star Novak Djokovic Denied Entry To Australia Over Vaccine Exemption Kerfuffle (Jan. 6) An Australian friend once took special pains to explain to me the “tall poppy syndrome” prevalent in his home country. In Novak Djokovic’s case, it amounts to no special treatment for VIPs or anyone else.

It seems the real reason the tennis star was sent packing is because the political class didn’t want to be confronted by the red-faced vitriol they knew was coming their way for as long as the tournament lasted. Australians are very democratic about that sort of thing.

Allan Scanlon 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