The 1st October has been an important date in many diaries this year. It’s the date which has been muted to be the date when venues can once again begin to open their doors to live events such as conferences and exhibitions, but with the current “second wave” about to come crashing down on the UK, is the 1st October still a realistic target, and of not, what does it mean for the events industry?
In the hospitality industry, we’ve all been nervously waiting for Boris to give us the go-ahead for live events to restart, but it now looks like we’re waiting for him to tell us it’s all off again, at least for a couple of weeks. As time goes by, people’s attitudes change towards things, and the current coronavirus pandemic is no exception. We’ve seen a mix of views from across the population ranging from “fed up with it all” (join the club! Ed.), to “it’s all a big conspiricy” and then there’s the majority of people who whilst almost certainly also being fed up with it all, recognise the need to be sensible about the way they act in terms of social distancing and isolating where appropriate. But lockdown has shown us that not everybody shares the same views. We keep on seeing statements like, “yes, but how many people are dying of flu” – well lets look at that statement for a moment. In(flu)enza has been around a heck of a lot longer than covid-19, and there is a vaccine (of sorts). Every year over 100 national inflenza centers in over 100 countries monitor thousands of influenza virus samples from patients.The laboratories then send representative samples to five World Health Organization (WHO) collaboration centers for reference and research. Twice a year (once for the northern hemisphere and once for the southern hemisphere), the WHO organises a consultation with the directors of the five essential regulatory laboratories and representatives of key national laboratories and academies where they review the results of the surveillance and studies, and the availability of vaccine viruses and they make recommendations on the composition of the influenza vaccine, but then each country makes their own decision about which viruses should be included in influenza vaccines licensed in their country. The difference here is that put quite simply, we don’t have any vaccine for covid-19 yet, so that’s why we can’t compare the figures as to how many people die from the flu against those who die from covid-19.