August 27, 2021
Well…there is a light at the end of this pandemic, but we are not quite there yet. The FDA approved vaccine combined with mandates and preventive efforts to slow the spread of the delta variant is coming just in time to counteract the surge. With NACCT in less than two months, I would be lying if I told you everything would be fine. Now, reality is not defined by absolutes such as all or nothing, but rather our ability to adapt and persevere, so we can continue to pursue our human endeavors in a less than ideal situation. Because what are we without each other?
Like everything else in our lives, organizing the NACCT has never been so challenging. During the winter when planning began and multiple emergency vaccines were available, we planned a hybrid NACCT, because we wanted to provide every opportunity to attend. After a virtual NACCT in 2020, we were eager to have an in-person option for the next NACCT. That model proved to be fortuitous, because if the pandemic worsens we still have the option to convert to virtual, or stay the current hybrid course. The date to make the final decision will be September 15th. After this time, only a local or national restriction on meetings would force an only virtual option. Either way, you can still experience cutting-edge and interactive symposia, platforms, posters sessions, networking and loads of continuing education.
As it stands today, the hotel room block is full; registration is currently half-virtual and half in-person; and there has been no change in the commitment by speakers and presenters. The Hyatt will be providing the standard COVID sanitary precautions and employees are encouraged to obtain a vaccine, or are required to wear a mask. We will be providing in-person attendees masks and distancing in the seating arrangement.
What we need from registered attendees, and those still planning to register, is to make your choice of virtual or in-person clear. We would prefer it if you made your personal preference based on the risk/benefit in your life, or institutional restrictions, rather than leaving the decision to the NACCT planners. I personally have an institutional travel restriction limiting me to the virtual format. If you are currently registered, and change your mind on whether you will be attending virtually or in-person you must contact Sarah Gerfen at email@example.com who will rectify the difference in price and set you on your desired course. We would encourage you to make this commitment or decision before September 15 if possible. Do not forget the early-bird discount deadline is 8/29.
A wise emergency medicine attending once told me, “The enemy of good is better.” I can guarantee you NACCT 2021 will not be perfect, but it will be memorable. We cannot wait until the situation is completely better, if we want to exchange our scientific knowledge during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will have to compromise some of our usual conference liberties, but we will not have to compromise the progress of clinical toxicology.
Kirk Cumpston, DO
President of the AACT