The First, Likely Inevitable COVID Case Surfaces In Wake Of Last Week’s InfoComm Show
November 2, 2021 by Dave Haynes
There was a small shit-storm whorling away on social media in the weeks and days before last week’s InfoComm trade show in Orlando, focused on the health safety and overall business merits of the event in the midst of a pandemic. And that little storm is continuing as reports emerge of people who went to Orlando arriving home with COVID-19.
I dunno how many people picked up the virus in or around Orlando, or on their way there or back, but I saw at least one well-known person from the pro AV sector publicly tweet that she went to the show, got tested after, and showed positive. She doesn’t likely want the attention, so if you need to know who, you can find out pretty easily.
She posted her rapid test results, and also: I took precautions, I have 2 Pfizer shots, I’m otherwise healthy & it was my decision to go. I announced this BcI had many contacts & hugs so I wanted all to have the opportunity to take proper precautions, that’s all. I cannot smell nor taste, head congested, no fever yet.
That’s one person, keep in mind, but based on the tweets, it is likely she is not alone – which would make sense just based on averages. Hopefully, others who may have picked it up were also fully vaxxed, and while they might have a rough ride, they won’t likely need hospitalization because they were jabbed.
It was a little disconcerting to see photos and video from the show floor, and particularly from social events, that suggested many people were going unmasked and moving around in, at times, pretty tight quarters like bars and restaurants. Scroll through tweets on #infocomm21 and you will see a mind-wobbling number of selfies of two, three and four people with their mask-free heads jammed together. AVIXA, which owns and runs the show, did what it could to enforce health safety protocols, but you could see from the floor and particularly in events away from the convention center how things like mask mandates were relaxed or ignored.
If Sixteen:Nine is a regular read, you’ll know there were plans in place for a digital signage industry mixer at InfoComm, but they were cancelled them because a networking event in a pandemic seemed both incongruous and an open call to arms for the Better Call Saul wing of the legal profession. The rewards vs risk thing didn’t work.
The reasonable counter-argument to not doing InfoComm or other industry events is that flying and going to trade shows comes with the assumption that you might pick up something nasty in those travels. My first or second time back from ISE involved a hellacious cold/flu/something that put me on my ass for 3-4 days … and we all have those stories. But I could have got that bug on the tram as easily as at the exhibit hall.
The whole situation is riddled with mixed feelings, and a lot of emotion. All we can hope for is that in three month’s time (wow!), when the next big pro AV/signage event is on in Barcelona, the should-I-stay-or-should-I-go debate about ISE (a larger, sister event to InfoComm) is less about health safety and business concerns, and more about boring stuff like flight costs and hotel room availability. But COVID won’t likely be anywhere near eradicated by then.
If you went to Orlando last week and are feeling great today, awesome! That’s presumably the vast majority, but getting a test today would be wise if you were doing the #AVselfie thing and hitting indoor cocktail parties at night. You don’t want to be spreading this to your family.
If you’re feeling shabby, I hope that turns around quickly and leaves no collateral damage to yourself or the people you know and love. Get well!
The final analysis in my mind is that it was an unnecessary indulgence in an unsafe state. As attendees have begun to come forward w/COVID19 diagnoses I ask what the formula was to justify the reported "great time had by all." Only 1-5 infected worth it? 6-10? 11-25? #Vultures!
— David Danto (@NJDavidD) November 2, 2021
I understand Harry, so answer the question for yourself. How many reported infections directly from show attendance will be enough to convince you that it was a mistake? What is the number in your mind that proves the point. In mine, even one treasured industry peer is enough.
— David Danto (@NJDavidD) November 2, 2021