From Health Crisis to Economic Crisis

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier Suarez, District 7

For the last few days, I have monitored carefully confirmed infection and death rates from COVID’19 from the industrialized and open societies of the west and east.

In particular I have looked at five countries as shown in the graph below: US, Germany, France, S Korea and Japan.

The trends seem to show a convergence of the proportion of deaths to “confirmed” cases around the figure of 1% or less. By contrast a lot of the media has focused on outliers like China, which was the epicenter of the onset of what became of pandemic – probably caused by China itself when it failed to advise the world of what was happening in late 2019.

Besides China, the main outliers were Italy and to a lesser extent Spain, which have essentially open borders and were probably already inundated with carriers who most likely came from outside their borders.

Why is this important? Well for one thing, we are crafting local economic policies which affect in particular the leisure services industry (restaurants, hotels, arts and festivals) in a draconian way. Small non-necessary retail shops and service providers have also seen their economic activities reduced to practically zero.

There will come a point in the next week or two in which we who are charged with making legislative policy have a responsibility to revisit decisions made by executives who are rightly concerned that if they don’t act quickly we could have a healthcare disaster in our cities and county.

In the meantime we have an immediate responsibility to provide some aid to displaced workers.

I am working with Wendi Walsh of “UniteHere,” which represents close to 100,000 hotel and restaurant workers, to provide immediate work training and direct financial aid to its members. Thankfully, the county has in place an agency  called “Career Source,” whose executive Director, Rick Beasley, Is putting together an aid package along those lines for displaced workers.

The total price tag is only $3 million – which is a drop in the bucket, when you’re talking about bringing relief to as many as 50,000 to 70,000 displaced employees. 

That’s the least we can do for those who cannot sit at home and collect government salaries, professional retainers, and other compensation for work that can be done remotely.

Xavier L. Suarez
Commissioner, District 7
Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez can be reached at 305-669-4003 or via email at district7@miamidade.gov.

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