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People leave after arriving at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on March 16, 2020.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

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A shot in the arm

Re When Will We Hit Peak Pandemic? There Are So Many Variables (March 17): We are all getting a firsthand (and terrifying) lesson in what a world without vaccines would be like. We have no built-up immunity to the coronavirus and there is, as of yet, no vaccine. Herd immunity will not protect any of us because it doesn’t yet exist for this disease.

When this is over, perhaps we will all have a greater understanding of the importance of vaccinations so we can protect each other.

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Elizabeth Caskey Vancouver

Working full-time

Re Economists Say Ottawa Has More Tools Available To Help Business (Report on Business, March 19): How can individuals help the economy and also avoid boredom as they stay home?

Why not buy paint and other materials for major redecorating? This will provide cash flow and reduce inventory for the store, and give one lots to do.

Is there a renovation project that could be undertaken? Buy the materials and perhaps employ someone who needs work.

Can someone who is out of work be hired to clean and care for the outside of one’s property? Can contractors be hired to replace the roof? These jobs can be done without needing to enter the home.

I am sure that others could add to this list to help keep money circulating.

Alexander (Sandy) Darling Flamborough, Ont.

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The end

Re The Coronavirus Is A Chance To Have The End-of-life Conversations We Need (March 17): My darling husband Frank O’Hara died on Feb. 13. The precipitating cause was multifocal pneumonia. He was 93 years old and had several underlying health issues, including Parkinson’s disease. I am grateful for a few things.

Over the years, we had multiple conversations about end-of-life care, exceptional measures, assisted dying and disposition of remains. Within a day of being admitted to the emergency department at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the physicians in charge of his care asked me directly what level of care we desired. I was able to say with confidence we did not want exceptional measures nor all hands on deck in the intensive care unit and so on. Frank himself was able to say no when asked a key question about a breathing tube.

Nothing about this was easy, but it was a great deal easier for me because I knew absolutely I was doing the right thing. As Frank would have said, it was sad, but not tragic.

I applaud contributor Gordon Rubenfeld for his article. I urge everyone to read it with care, and have those same conversations while there is still time to do so thoroughly, thoughtfully and lovingly.

Marion Raycheba Toronto

Safe and sound

Re Holiday State of Mind (Letters, March 14): An update: My wife Barbara and I are back home in Canada (although we wish we were still drifting somewhere in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands). We arrived late last week, as planned, and did so in long lines at customs, with no screening regarding the coronavirus – not even one question – and no advice on self-quarantining.

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Chris Gates Quinte West, Ont


Re No More Patriot Games For Tom Brady (Sports, March 18): Compare the priorities of former New England Patriot Tom Brady with those of Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback who is donating one million meals to help local food banks. Such a fabulous show of support for his community.

Sadly, it seems Mr. Brady has no conscience.

Barbara Vivash Toronto

Rational advice

Re The Pandemic Has Spread Suspicion Of The Ordinary (March 19): As an octogenarian, I recall our means of dealing with hoarders in the Second World War. We had ration books in the late 1930s, and throughout 1940 to 1945. The grocers simply tore out a small stamp before selling you a pound of butter or a dozen eggs. Are we in need of rationing on all key food and health provisions once again? Today, we could get this done electronically and very rapidly.

We should also get organized, with the assistance of the Canadian Forces, to provide extra beds and medical assistance to handle any surge in hospital needs. We should take swift action to ensure we can manufacture gowns, masks and ventilators for hospital staff. And prison inmates who can be deemed harmless should be released if they are threatened by the coronavirus; we are by nature forgiving and caring, and these people should not be forgotten.

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To all: Stay home, be safe, and hurrah for our health and wellness troops!

Ted Burnside Manotick, Ont.

War on war

Re Are We Ready To Go To War With A Virus? (Editorial, March 19) and The War On COVID-9 Is All That Matters Now (March 19): Both The Globe and Mail’s editorial and columnist Robyn Urback fall back on the war metaphor to describe the approach to COVID-19. Ms. Urback even makes a rousing argument that economic matters can “go to hell where they belong,” as Imperial Munitions Board chairman Joseph Flavelle said in 1916, while the war against the virus is waged.

Not to be a sourpuss, but I hope the same attitude survives once the virus is beaten, and we realize that the permafrost is still thawing, the glaciers still melting, the forests still burning, species still disappearing. The same climate change that threatened us three months ago threatens us still, and will continue to get worse until we address it with the same seriousness we give a four-month-old virus. That its consequences are likely as dire – just not as immediately visible, which seems to be our threshold for action.

Tom Sullivan Toronto

Government tells us to wash our hands and not to travel, but I don’t think that is enough. This is like war against a virus. During wartime, there would be no hesitation to commandeer industry and factories to produce weapons. Governments should get involved to produce a surplus of testing facilities, hand sanitizers and other goods.

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In comparison, South Korea has provided comprehensive testing for its people, including drive-up tests. Pumping money into the system does not seem like enough, nor is doing a bit better than Donald Trump. I believe we need more action – and more leadership.

Laurie Kochen Toronto

It’s taken a common enemy to unite the world. Neither common sense, religion nor political rhetoric could achieve this. And as the virus spreads, we are suddenly all on one page. Can we stay there?

Johanna Wenzel Calgary

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