Good on ya, HIMSS; it was a hard decision but probably the right one. Due to reduced attendance, the bang for the buck would not have been there for exhibitors and attendees. Furthermore, had the conference proceeded, we would no doubt have been responsible for further transmission of the virus. Going ahead would have demonstrated brazen disregard for (1) the quality of the event; and (2) the desperate efforts of governments and healthcare workers worldwide to contain the spread of COVID-19.
I've seen graphs stating COVID-19 is both more infectious and more severe than influenza - although the quality of the data may be debatable. However - regardless whether the new virus is better or worse than influenza, it is yet another communicable illness with potentially devastating consequences for some segment of our population. Do we really want or need another one of those?
Since October 2019 an estimated 18,000 people have died because of contracting influenza, as happens most years. HIMSS has never cancelled because of influenza. Another case of overreacting.
As healthcare leaders we should have set the example and followed CDC guidelines that say US travel is ok. Fine tell travelers from affected countries, elderly, underlying conditions not to come and take other precautions etc. But we can’t shut down the economy. We will likely have more pandemics in the future and we need to figure out how to carry on with life.
Seriously let’s stop asking stupid questions