Omicron Shouldn’t Lead to Panic

Andrea Doyle, Executive Editor
John Cordier, CEO, Epistemix addressing the crowd at the recent Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum

PITTSBURGH — As reports of cases of the omicron variant emerge, industry experts are not surprised by this new variant.

“There was a summer wave of cases with the main variant then being delta. The fall wave is omicron, and we predict there will be another wave in the spring,” John Cordier, Chief Executive Officer, Epistemix, said. “It will be a seasonal pattern.”

Epistemix is a computational modeling software company that develops simulations to fight disease and inform policy.

It is important the trade show industry does not panic, Cordier added. “Mitigation strategies in place that include vaccinations, mask-wearing and testing at events will help ensure all will be okay,” he said.

It was reported this week that someone who attended a recent anime convention at the Javits Center in New York City tested positive for the omicron variant after returning to Minnesota.  New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told the New York Times the Minnesota resident was vaccinated and experienced mild symptoms.

There were approximately 53,000 in attendance at Anime NYC 2021 over three days. “Thousands gathered and one got infected, that’s better than the national average,” Cordier added.

The omicron variant was first detected in South Africa. Shortly after South African scientists announced the discovery of this new variant, Britain banned travelers from South Africa. South Africans are saying they feel like they are being punished for alerting health officials.

“There are going to be new variants that emerge all the time. It is important that information is shared quickly and broadly so others can be prepared,” Cordier said.

Closing international borders is not necessarily the best level of protection, he added. “It could have been a solution in October or November of 2019, not right now,” he said.

Cordier stresses that events do not need to be canceled because there are protocols that can be implemented to keep attendees and exhibitors safe. They include mandatory face coverings, vaccinations and testing.

“There have been events held safely in September, October and November with thousands of people, with protocols in place,” Cordier said. “This is something that is now manageable.”

 

Reach John Cordier at john.cordier@epistemix.com