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Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen in Surrey, B.C., on March 26, 2020.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

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Making waves

Re Private Clinics Allow People To Bypass Virus Testing Line For A Fee (Oct. 5): My daughter is in Japan, pregnant with a herniated disc and gestational diabetes and requiring a C-section. I am desperately trying to get to her, but the Japanese government requires a COVID-19 test returned within 72 hours of my flight. I can’t get this in Ontario because of the backlog.

So yes, I want to pay for a test so that I can be with my sick daughter. I believe anyone in my position would do the same.

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Angela Bart Trenton, Ont.


MPs are able to access private COVID-19 tests, so why not a person who needs to return to work or visit a relative in long-term care? At least they would be paying for it themselves, rather than taxpayers.

Helen McGlone St. Catharines, Ont.


It’s disheartening to hear complaints about businesses stepping in to ease testing lineups and backlog. If testing is a vital component of the fight against COVID-19, should we really be trying to stop those who are helping to stop this terrible virus? And if someone wants to pay to help that along, then I would say to them: Thank you!

Serena Graham-Dwyer Bedford, N.S.


I seldom buy the “thin edge of the wedge" argument. If our public health system is so fragile that it would crumble from such an egregious practice, then we have much bigger problems than a few people getting tested at private clinics.

Robert Dunn Toronto

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In principle, I’m against private clinics. Canadians accept the best that public health has to offer, balanced with the understandable limits and delays inherent in a triaged medical system built on finite resources.

Given that government has failed to provide adequate COVID-19 testing facilities and timely results – in addition to pitifully meagre contact tracing – citizens have, in this potentially life-and-death scenario, indeed paid for testing. I find this is not, as the chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare states, “unconscionable,” but is rather a healthy reaction to the inadequacies of the health system.

Marty Cutler Toronto


Re Toronto Suspends Contact Tracing Outside Outbreak Settings To Focus On Isolating Confirmed Cases (Online, Oct. 3): By suspending contact tracing except in congregate settings, Toronto is losing an essential source of information in the fight against COVID-19.

Contact tracing identifies and warns contacts of infected patients that they are at risk. It also helps produce a database so that planners know how and where people are contracting the virus.

Toronto should maintain at least a fraction of contact tracing efforts, enough to produce sufficient evidence for public-health officials to identify infection trends. Otherwise we may close down some activities unnecessarily, while allowing the virus to continue spreading where we least expect it.

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Lisa Jeffrey Toronto


Re Before Locking Down, Show Us The Data (Editorial, Oct. 3): The most disturbing thing about all levels of government is that they have had six months to lay out a credible plan to deal with localized breakouts. Yet the best they have come up with is to shut it all down.

Perhaps if bureaucrats and politicians pushing for lockdowns also had their salaries suspended for the duration, we might get more creative solutions that don’t cripple the economy and destroy the lives of small business owners.

Wayne Gibson Toronto


We know that crowding people together causes the spread of the COVID-19. So it follows that stopping unnecessary crowding should help slow the spread of the virus. Should it matter if that crowding occurs at a cinema, restaurant, bar, Tim Hortons or strip club?

I believe we have the data we need, even if it does not satisfy business operators.

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Howard Block Shelburne, Ont.


Re ‘We Almost Have A Normal Life’: Atlantic Bubble Has Stopped Spread Of Virus (Oct. 2): My wife and I are in 14-day self-isolation in Nova Scotia, having travelled from Quebec to meet our newborn granddaughters. Hearing stories about licence-plate shaming and car-keying, we were uncertain how we would be received. Turns out, we have been warmly welcomed.

Provincial border officials in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were officious but friendly. The host of our rental cottage picked up groceries we ordered online. The car-rental company picked up our vehicle when we arrived, at no extra charge. The provincial government checks in daily, primarily to determine if we are following the rules, but also asking about our health.

Yes, it is impressive to us how effective the Atlantic provinces have been in controlling the spread of COVID-19. We certainly don’t want to be the ones who threaten that in any way. We’ll be hugging our granddaughters in a few more days. Thanks to the Atlantic bubble, they have been safe. Let’s hope it lasts.

James Riordan Breckenridge, Que.

Green power

Re With Annamie Paul, The Greens Decide To Compete For Votes, And Seats (Oct. 5): As a longtime NDP member, I find it hard to separate Annamie Paul’s values and goals from those of my party.

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We have fought for decades for “a broader social safety net,” and more recently action on "combating climate change.” Her call for a guaranteed living income has been de rigueur for the NDP.

Perhaps her message is more nuanced. Perhaps she feels the Green Party has a better chance at advancing these goals. But to me, she will enter the fray and further split progressive forces in Canada.

Robert Milan Victoria


Re New Green Leader Is Breaking Barriers (Oct. 5): Brilliant, accomplished, female, Black, Jewish – and Green. Sign me up!

Ruth Goldman Toronto

Town and country

Re Why I Love Thunder Bay (First Person, Sept. 30): There are plenty of jokes about Thunder Bay, and I admit that I ignorantly spouted my fair share. But with experience, I learned to understand and appreciate the people who live there.

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As a lifelong, smart-aleck city slicker, I once had the task of developing a small team in Thunder Bay, and of managing it remotely. By delving into the rich local community descended from First Nations, Finns and Italians, as well as more recent immigrants from Iran or China, I was able to find the motivated employees I needed. My little team went on to exceed all my expectations.

Eventually, I got to look forward to my trips there. What a great group of people. Never again will this city slicker sneer at people from remote communities.

Tom Browne Montreal


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