PITTSBURGH — Masks can come off at meetings — temporarily, at least — as Covid cases continue to decline throughout the spring and summer, according to the most recent report by Epistemix. Throughout the pandemic, trade show organizers have turned to Epistemix’s targeted analytical tools, which weigh details such as location and attendee demographics, to make informed decisions about safety protocols at their events.
The firm’s Q2 2022 Forecast predicts that most of the country will experience a low-COVID spring and summer, and return to most pre-pandemic activities with optional masking. “Then, depending on your region, you should keep a sharp eye on how things evolve toward the end of the summer and mask for indoor activities if cases increase for two consecutive weeks in your area,” the report said.
Th report predicts rising infection rates in southern cities including Atlanta, Orlando and Nashville come August, with cases starting to rise in July before falling in September. For other large cities including New York, Chicago and San Francisco, Epistemix is forecasting a very gradual fall wave, with cases slowly increasing through August.
“A striking feature of this forecast is the variation both across and within seasonality regions,” Erin Zwick, Director of Health & Disease Modeling at Epistemix, said. “Across-region wave patterns have become more evident in the third year of COVID-19, and within-region variation is also becoming more apparent. For example, New Orleans and Orlando are both in our southern seasonality region, but the peak in New Orleans is earlier and sharper than the peak in Orlando. Contact patterns and social networks can create very different waves in seasonally similar regions.”
It’s important to remember that this projection — which relies on historical data, including previous cases, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as the number of partially vaccinated, fully vaccinated and boosted individuals — is not a prophecy, Zwick said. “Our hope is that with information about an upcoming wave, people can respond early with appropriate mitigation strategies rather than react to an unexpected change in Covid conditions. Appropriately timed mitigations can reduce the height and duration of an upcoming wave.”
Reach Erin Zwick at email@example.com