Economic recovery team trying to find a balanced approach

On April 21, Mayor Ferguson announced his economic recovery team and I’m privileged to be part of that endeavor.

We’ve met twice now, Fridays being our regular caucus, with much work and consultation occurring between those Zoom gatherings.

While governments the planet over wrestle with stark trade-offs between public health and economic risk, I’m struck by the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Team’s (MERT) focus on the crucial interdependency between safety and restarting our County economy. It’s not one or the other with our MERT group.

Residents and visitors alike should be relieved and reassured our economic recovery team sees these two priorities as working in close tandem.

Both MERT meetings have surfaced innovative and actionable business ideas: and both involved extensive discussion of a sustainable economic recovery requiring a sensible public health approach to managing COVID-19.

There is another welcome interdependency on this MERT-a generational one. The membership is a valid mix of several age demographics. This may have been inadvertent but, in my view, it’s a godsend; because this pandemic is in many ways two very distinct diseases.

One disease attacks the 60+ age demographic with a COVID-19 mortality rate that is up to 20 times more fatal than for younger people under 50 years of age.

But if you’re younger, chances are very good that words like “urgent intubation” and “life-support ventilator” will never enter your medical lexicon.

Across Canada and Ontario seniors represent roughly 13 per cent of the population but here it’s more like 40-50 percent- a local data point that can’t be dismissed.

Again, residents and visitors alike should be reassured that the MERT understands and plans with these facts much in mind.

In sum, I believe we will ramp up economic activity soon, we will endeavour to build back better, we’ll maintain our vigilance and (hopefully) very low COVID-19 case rate, and we’ll do our best to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable.

And, importantly, we’ll continue to appreciate that the path to our better angels always runs through others.

Amen to that!

Bill Roberts

Councillor Sophiasburgh (Ward 6)