The virus that causes Covid-19 pneumonia is starting to eat away at the life, health and benefits event calendar.
America’s Health Insurance Plans, a group for health insurers, announced Friday that it has canceled two major events: the 2020 National Health Policy Conference and the National Conference on the Individual and Small Group Market.
Both events were set to take place in Washington starting March 18.
Matt Eyles, AHIP’s president, said in a statement about the cancellation decision that the health and safety of the conference speakers, attendees and staff come first.
“That’s why we are taking this proactive, preventative action,” Eyles said.
More information about the event cancellations is available here.
The SARS-CoV-2 Outbreak
Business and political conferences have played a prominent role in the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, in the United States.
State health officials in Massachusetts have identified 23 laboratory-confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections related to an employee conference Biogen, a biotech company, held in Boston in February, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
An attendee at the Conservative Political Action Conference, which took place in National Harbor, Maryland, in February, had a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Several other well-known attendees, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. have said that they have made voluntary decisions to quarantine themselves, to reduce the possibility that they could spread the virus to others.
The United States now has had a total of 565 laboratory-confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections, and 17 of the U.S. people known to have had SARS-CoV-2 infections have died, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
The current U.S. SARS-CoV-2 fatality rate is about 3.4%.
Other Event Cancellations and Changes
AHIP is just one of the industry organizations canceling major events, or converting the events into “virtual,” web-based gatherings.
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Inc. is canceling the vast in-person 2020 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Education with a virtual event.