The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Chief Health Advisor Dr. David Nash offers guidance on staying safe through the COVID-19 pandemic, when the Omicron variant will subside, and meeting in Philadelphia right now.
When will Omicron Subside?
Dr. Nash believes we’re getting there. “I’ve been saying Valentine’s Day will be an opportunity to take a deep breath and say the worst is behind us.” The Dean Emeritus of the Jefferson College of Population Health in Philadelphia explains that by looking at the evidence, and countries like South Africa and the United Kingdom, “it looks like we’re hitting the peak right now here in Philadelphia. We’ll still have to do social distancing, still have to wear a mask, but I think the anxiety level will go down and the number of cases will also go down… by Valentine’s Day, hopefully by March for sure, we’ll be on the other side of the Omicron mountain peak.”
Guidance for Staying Safe
Dr. Nash reiterates the importance of doing all that we can to keep ourselves safe. “We know that we still have to do the basic stuff. Wear that mask, preferably a good one, like an N95 or a knockoff KN95 and wear it right over your nose and mouth. Make sure it’s a good fit. If you’re using public transportation, you have an extra responsibility to wear the mask appropriately and the most important thing we can still do is get vaccinated.” Dr. Nash is hopeful that this summer will be better than summer 2021. “I think we have a high likelihood of it being a much better situation. If all the experts are right, I think we’re going to reach a kind of an endemic state.”
We all have a “Duty to Care”
Dr. Nash describes “Duty to Care” as the collective responsibility of a group to protect its members. “Smart organizations know all about this and their ‘Duty to Care.’ That’s what we call that when you’re together under the umbrella of an outside organization. They have a duty to protect you.”
This concept doesn’t exclusively fall on the event organizer and Dr. Nash stresses that we all play a major role in keeping one another safe. “When you’re wearing that mask, you’re not only protecting yourself, you’re protecting your neighbor. You know, this is what good citizenship is all about. That’s why it’s really important to continue to wear the mask, wear the right kind of mask, and wear it appropriately and effectively over your nose and mouth. When you see folks at a meeting who are wearing the masks appropriately, that’s also a great feeling.”
Meeting in Philadelphia Right Now
“We are a pretty highly vaccinated town,” states Dr. Nash. “So, when you come here, your taxi driver, the person who might clean your hotel room, your waiter or waitress, the folks who help you with your bags in the hotel, they are highly likely to have been fully vaccinated.” Philadelphia was recently cited as one of the most vaccinated cities in the United States.
The Chief Health Advisor for the PHLCVB also praised the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s upgrades, noting an improved ventilation system, health and safety protocols, and extensive routine cleaning procedures. “I would be comfortable going to a big meeting, a big convention in our city, in our convention center, especially if there were daily, or close to it, testing and vaccine and booster proof before you came into the meeting. I would go to that tomorrow,” says Dr. Nash.
Please note: The content of this article is meant to serve as an informative professional opinion based on the doctor’s knowledge and experience. Please refer to the guidance offered to you by your doctor, organization, the CDC, and state and local authorities.