After two years of uncertainty, we can definitely say that the coronavirus (Covid-19) has changed our everyday lives as we know it. The high transmission of the virus forced us to rethink social interaction entirely, especially pertaining to large events like conferences. This is most pertinent in terms of networking, as we often use conferences to meet others in our respective fields in the hopes of building long-lasting professional and personal relationships. However, Covid immediately forced all these large, in-person events to go entirely virtual. Success of individual conferences transitioning to the virtual sphere relied largely on the capabilities of pre-established virtual event platforms. In the end, virtual events and conferences proved to be just as effective in both the dissemination of scientific research and professional networking. In fact, many who could not previously attend in-person meetings due to cost or other factors, were now able to attend events and take part in global networking in virtual spaces.
While the Covid vaccines have temporarily allowed us to return to traditional in-person events, there are rising fears of a new Covid wave this fall, with warnings from the White House and experts in the field, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the top medical advisor to President Biden.
Keeping this in mind, what personal and professional steps can be taken to help prepare for what life might be like if this new wave hits?
For starters, make sure you’re vaccinated, and if you’re vaccinated, make sure to get your booster. The good news is that children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and research is ongoing to determine the safety for children under the age of five. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone get boosters to help protect against severe disease caused by infection with Covid-19. The three vaccines available in the United States are from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, with everyone ages 18 and up eligible to receive all those vaccines. You can search your zip code to find the nearest vaccine location to you.
While mask mandates have been lifted by every state in the US, the CDC still recommends that everyone ages 2 and older properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator over the nose and mouth in indoor areas of public transportation (airplanes, trains, etc.), and this recommendation applies to both passengers and employees. While these remain as only recommendations, it is widely known as Covid-19 can still spread via aerosols, remaining present in the air for hours.
Even if you stay vigilant via boosters and masking, a new Covid wave could impact in-person conferences and trade shows and possibly return us to virtual only events again. In this case, it’s best to know ahead of time which virtual events might suit your needs depending on your discipline or professional goals. While in-person events have the benefit of meeting people face to face, virtual events also have their benefits. These include increased attendee count, more value for exhibitors and sponsors, significantly reduced expenses, highly effective networking opportunities, the facilitation of attendee feedback, saving time, and more access learning opportunities on a global scale. Likewise, hybrid events also have their benefits, to include all the above mentioned for virtual events plus the option to attend in person.
Labroots is privileged to produce and host a series of virtual events and webinars for all backgrounds and disciplines, including animal health, microbiology, cancer research, cardiology, and genomics. Labroots will also be offering a new product called a Virtual/Hybrid Reservation. This is the opportunity for a client to reserve a potential spot for a future Virtual/Hybrid event in the event that in-person conferences are once again put on hold. Labroots would allocate the necessary resources to produce either a fully virtual event or hybrid event sometime in the future (i.e., sometime this fall/winter period) depending on the pandemic guidelines at that time. This offer allows the client to choose between a fully virtual event, and a hybrid event when the time comes.*
While Covid-19 is entering the endemic phase, it’s always best to prepare for any outcome. Being ready will help you reduce the chance of becoming infected and live a better personal and professional life.
Sources: CNN, WebMD, Bloomberg, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2), Multistate, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (3), Medical News Today, Eventify, Aventri, Labroots (1), Labroots (2), University of Florida Health
* The client would be charged a nominal fee to reserve a scheduled event, but this could be partially refunded if they elect not to take advantage of the reserved event.