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How Many People Caught COVID At CES? Show, Health Officials Won’t Say

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) wrapped up in Las Vegas on January 7, 2022, sooner or later early because of COVID issues. The tradeshow, traditionally one of many largest within the US, this yr attracted about 40,000 attendees, (30% worldwide) down from 170,000 in 2020.

Amid the Omicron surge, main exhibitors like Microsoft, Intel, GM, Amazon and T-Mobile pulled out, citing worker well being issues. Nonetheless, Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association mentioned “CES will and must go on.”

To make it occur, CES2022 took a plethora of precautions to stop the unfold of the virus. The array of well being protocols included encouraging all attendees to take a COVID take a look at earlier than the present and requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to select up a CES 2022 badge. Free COVID-19 self-test kits had been distributed to every attendee, with testing and well being care additionally out there on website. Masks had been required all through the venues and on the buses. Hand sanitizer stations had been out there all through the extensively spaced exhibit flooring, with social distancing helped by the horde of no-shows.

How efficient was all this? With no information launched and an absence of transparency from present organizers and Nevada well being authorities, it’s onerous to say.

But there are some regarding information factors. At least seventy staff of the 340 Korean corporations attending the present, together with Samsung, SK, and Hyundai Heavy Industries, examined optimistic. Samsung, one of many largest corporations at CES, chartered two plane to deliver 20 COVID-positive staff bac to South Korea.

“Many Korean businesspeople who attended CES … are actually confirmed to be contaminated with COVID-19,” Son Young-rae, a South Korean well being ministry official, reportedly mentioned. “We are promptly contacting those that participated within the occasion and conducting epidemiological investigations, however we urge home businesspeople or those that are in Korea that attended the occasion to bear PCR exams as quickly as potential.”

Fortunately, a lot of the Korean delegates apparently had minor signs and had been quarantined after arrival. We contacted Samsung to get extra data however didn’t obtain a response.

Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, FACHE, President & CEO of Renown Health in Reno, NV,, was a CES medical accomplice. He mentioned, “We are now more prepared than ever to keep people safe, which is the top priority for CES. I am impressed that the Consumer Technology Association, our hotels, the conference venues and the City of Las Vegas have worked diligently to put every contemporary safety practice in place to ensure a healthy and successful in-person meeting this year.”

However, Korea Times claimed, “Though the event only allowed those fully vaccinated and required face masks to be worn indoors, enforced measures were reportedly insufficient in preventing swarms of visitors and reporters from getting infected.”

We tried to contact Dr. Slonim after the present. He declined an interview. A Renown Health public relations individual mentioned, “We spoke with Dr. Slonim and from what he saw at the meeting, CES did an excellent job at safety protocols, but he has no follow up data on infection/spread/hospitalization rate among attendees, exhibitors and show workers so he doesn’t feel he is the right person to comment.”

On January 8, 2022, the Southern Nevada Health District put out a COVID-19 Update asserting the best variety of COVID-19 instances reported in a single day within the Las Vegas space because the starting of the pandemic. The launch famous that of January 7, (coincidentally the day the CES present closed)  there have been 392,971 instances of COVID-19 reported in Clark County, a rise of 6,110 instances over yesterday. In addition, the Health District reported fifteen deaths.

How many of those instances got here from CES? We requested CTA for information on the variety of attendees who examined optimistic. The CTA didn’t present any numbers however provided this assertion.

We are conscious of media reviews that some people who participated in CES in January 2022 examined optimistic to COVID-19 upon their return. CES 2022 had very strong well being protocols developed with the recommendation of well being care professionals and authorities security officers. The necessities for proof of vaccination and masking in all CES indoor venues, in addition to offering self-testing kits for all attendees helped us create a safer setting for our exhibitors, members, and attendees.

“We offered free PCR testing to all international attendees who were required to show proof of a negative test before flying internationally to their destination. We do not have confirmation of the number of cases as it is extremely difficult to determine exactly when and where anyone contracted COVID-19. Results from testing done onsite by medical staff were reported to the local Southern Nevada Health Authorities.”

We contacted Nevada well being authorities, each the Southern Nevada Health Department (SNHD) and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, a number of instances. The SNHD didn’t reply. The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services claimed “While DHHS is not able to determine which positive test results were related to CES, the State of Nevada appreciate the protocols put in place before the event.”

The lack of information is troubling, because the battered journey business was watching to see if an in-person present attracting attendees and exhibitors from everywhere in the world might be pulled off safely. Recovery of the commerce present business ($34.4 billion globally in 2019) after two years of pandemic devastation was vital. CES may be a gauge of whether or not U.S. and worldwide enterprise vacationers had been lastly returning.

“By staging an influential live event that safely convenes thousands of global professionals across the technology, business and political spectrum, CES is nothing short of a model for how business trade events can and should take place in 2022,” mentioned U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “The health and safety protocols in place at the Las Vegas Convention Center and throughout the hotel and hospitality community has further enabled the safe return of this and other major events.”

CES can be crucial to Las Vegas, filling hundreds of Sunday-through-Thursday lodge rooms, eating places, golf equipment, bars, and taxis. The CES present could also be about ‘gadgets’ however the cash it dumps into the Las Vegas economic system—greater than $300 million—is not any joke.

The lack of CES an infection information, whereas the Clark County (Las Vegas Strip) positivity price attain 33.4% by January 11, is disappointing. Meanwhile, there have been persistent claims that the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show might have been one of many first COVID-19 tremendous spreader occasions, earlier than the time period had even been invented. A Las Vegas tv station tracked down numerous individuals who attended CES2020 and claimed COVID signs.

Getting a way of whether or not precautions had been efficient would assist vacationers perceive how manageable the danger is. Without actual solutions, exhibitors, commerce present managers and enterprise vacationers might determine that even after two years of COVID, it’s nonetheless too early to hit the highway.

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