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Comparison of COVID-19 Rates Among In-Person and Virtual Attendees of a National Surgical Society Meeting in the US

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

Many professional societies have resumed in-person meetings after canceling or adopting virtual formats during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, rates of viral transmission at such meetings remain unknown. Limited research has suggested increased case numbers after general mass gatherings; attendees of medical meetings are at increased risk of occupational exposure, more adherent to mask guidelines, and vaccinated at a higher rates.13 Reports of cases after in-person attendance have been anecdotal, small, or unpublished.4

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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Article Information

Accepted for Publication: June 29, 2022.

Published: September 7, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.30300

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2022 Silver CM et al. JAMA Network Open.

Corresponding Author: Callisia N. Clarke, MD, MS, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 W Watertown Plank Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53226 (cnclarke@mcw.edu).

Author Contributions: Drs Silver and Clarke had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Silver, Joung, Morris, Wang, Ghaferi, Clarke.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: Silver.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: Silver, Joung, Clarke.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Silver, Ghaferi, Clarke.

Supervision: Morris, Wang, Ghaferi, Bilimoria, Clarke.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Silver reported receiving training grants from the National Cancer Institute during the conduct of the study. Dr Joung reported receiving training grants from National Cancer Institute during the conduct of the study. Dr Clarke reported receiving funding from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases during the conduct of the study. No other disclosures were reported.

Additional Contributions: Members of the Academic Surgical Congress COVID-19 working group, including Rebecca Snyder, MD, MPH, Ankush Gosain, MD, PhD, Nader Massarweh, MD, MPH, Vikas Dudeja, MD, Thomas Weiser, MD, MPH, and Alexander Parikh, MD, MPH, developed the COVID-19 preventative measures at the 2022 Academic Surgical Congress. Dorry Segev, MD, PhD, contributed to survey development. None of these contributors received compensation.

References
1.
Moritz  S , Gottschick  C , Horn  J ,  et al.  The risk of indoor sports and culture events for the transmission of COVID-19.   Nat Commun. 2021;12(1):5096. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-25317-9 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
2.
Firew  T , Sano  ED , Lee  JW ,  et al.  Protecting the front line: a cross-sectional survey analysis of the occupational factors contributing to healthcare workers’ infection and psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic in the USA.   BMJ Open. 2020;10(10):e042752. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042752 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Shaw  J , Stewart  T , Anderson  KB ,  et al.  Assessment of US healthcare personnel attitudes towards coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination in a large university healthcare system.   Clin Infect Dis. 2021;73(10):1776-1783. doi:10.1093/cid/ciab054 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
4.
Silver  CM , Joung  RH , Visenio  MR ,  et al.  COVID-19 positivity following an in-person surgical society meeting: a cross-sectional survey study.   J Surg Res. 2022;278:267-270. doi:10.1016/j.jss.2022.04.067 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
5.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID Data Tracker: United States COVID-19 cases, deaths, and laboratory testing (NAATs) by state, territory, and jurisdiction. Updated continuously. Accessed April 1, 2022. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_totalcases
6.
Torjesen  I .  COVID-19: omicron may be more transmissible than other variants and partly resistant to existing vaccines, scientists fear.   BMJ. 2021;375(2943):n2943. doi:10.1136/bmj.n2943 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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