Coronavirus, Conventions, and You

We’re all concerned about COVID-19.  Whether or not you’re one of the people who are buying out all the toilet paper on the eastern seaboard, we here at Usagi Medical Group would urge everyone to try to put their anxieties in check when it comes to COVID-19 and what it might do to the local convention scene.  Panic seems almost reasonable these days, but panic creates more trouble than it solves.

UsagiMed’s Advice for Convention Organizers

UsagiMed looks to our local (state and county) health departments, along with the CDC for the best and latest information on the virus, its current reach, and all the research being done to combat it.  We encourage you to do the same.  

UsagiMed cannot help you make the decision to cancel or postpone your show.  We can help inform you based on recommendations made by your local health departments, who are also in touch with the CDC and are taking their knowledge and data into account.

There are some innovations your con can make, not the least of which is making public health messaging a visible priority for your con attendees.  Emphasize the 20-second hand-washing regimen, 5-2-1 Rule, and the importance of staying hydrated.  UsagiMed does this with a series of posters, videos, and social media posts. While you’re at it, make sure water is freely available throughout the con.    

Consider implementing a policy that anyone who has any kind of illness should stay home, and that you’ll defer their membership to next year if they do.  Every year we see people show up to their con with the flu because they don’t want to waste their membership fees. Make it easier for people to stay home.  You care about your fans. You want to keep them safe. And you want to party with them when they are well.  

Shameless UsagiMed plug:  We can help you make and document plans for your con.  Many people don’t know that disaster planning (including things like COVID-19 contingencies) is our thing.  We will even train your staff once these plans are developed.

UsagiMed’s Advice for Con Attendees
(and staff, and volunteers…)

If your con delays the show, or even if the show is canceled, applaud them for doing the right thing and support the con in their decision.  No one is taking this lightly.

If your con doesn’t cancel, go have a great time!  Remember: panic is also contagious, and that’s not really helping anyone. If you have COVID-19 fears, the best thing to do is create a plan and follow it: 

  1. Wash your hands with soap for at least twenty seconds, and avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth) with your hands, in general.  
  2. Cover your coughs & sneezes with your elbow.  
  3. 5-2-1 Rule.  Learn it. Live it.  Eating solid meals of real food outweighs the need to take any vitamin supplements.  Do not let vitamins become a meal substitute. Food fuels your immune response.
  4. Hydrate.  Water improves your immune response.  That’s water–not soda.
  5. Wash your hands.  Hand sanitizer is NOT a substitute.
  6. The CDC says a mask is not necessary at this time. 
  7. If you are sick with ANY sickness, STAY HOME.  Con crud was a real thing before COVID-19 entered your awareness.  H1N1 is really bad, okay? And there are immune-compromised people everywhere: the elderly, chemo patients, etc.  Please, if you’re sick, stay home.   
  8. Wash your freaking hands.  Twenty freaking seconds.

You know what lasts twenty seconds? No, wait. Don’t answer that question. Singing the following stanzas while washing your hands will make the event last about twenty seconds. Lather up!

(Sung to the tune of “If You’re Happy And You Know It“)

There’s a virus and it sucks, wash your hands.
There’s a virus and it sucks, wash your hands.
Soap and water is the best, sanitizer if you must.
There’s a virus and it sucks, WASH YOUR HANDS.

If you’re sick and you know it, stay at home.
If you’re sick and you know it, stay at home.
If you aren’t yet diagnosed, stay at home and eat some toast.
If you’re sick and you know it, STAY AT HOME.

Remember, no matter what happens, there are safe ways to stay connected to the fandom and the people you love.  You can always default to your online interactions with fellow friends and fans. Find a safer way to play until the risk of contagion diminishes.

You can be sure we’ll be talking about this more on our Facebook pagePlease do join us there.