By Kait Shea via Event Marketer
Being part of an industry that thrives on face-to-face interactions and global travel makes the Wuhan coronavirus a concerning issue for event professionals. And while it has been declared a global health emergency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Americans have no reason to panic—yet. The “novel” strain of the virus was first identified in December in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and has since spread to 20 countries, but the immediate health risk to the general American public is not considered high at this time, the CDC says.
As the conference calendar is heating up, we talked to the experts to help put this news event in perspective. Following are insights from the executives at CrowdRX, a physician-led organization that delivers medical services at events.
The Flu Poses a Greater Health Threat
While the media has been sounding the alarms on the Wuhan coronavirus based on its status as a new illness, the prevalence of the flu makes it a far greater health threat.
“Last year was the worst flu season we’ve had in the past 40 years,” says Connor Fitzpatrick, executive director at CrowdRX. “Eighty thousand people in the U.S. died of the flu last year. And in the U.S. alone, 15 million people caught the flu in the last four months… We need to keep the hysteria down—the flu is by far a bigger threat than the Wuhan coronavirus.”
Andrew Bazos, MD, managing director at CrowdRX, agrees. “There are flus that we know very well that have done a lot more [damage] in a day or two than this virus has done in the two or three weeks it’s been discussed,” he says.