Last week, posting was very light because I attended two conferences. Some observations:
- There seem to be more people than I would like or expected who are infectious disease microbiology-adjacent and who clearly aren’t masking, unless absolutely required. This is disappointing.
- At both meetings, vaccination and boosters were required; the first meeting required mask wearing, while the second did not (I think). At the first meeting, I would argue mask compliance was around 99%, with a breakdown of surgical/cloth masks, KN95s, and N95s around 35%, 55%, and 10%. At the second meeting, mask wearing was around 75 percent, with roughly the same breakdown of the type of mask.
- People did take their masks off to eat and drink, including breaks. Some were eating quickly, but many others would keep their masks off for ten to twenty minutes at a time while indoors* (i.e., not just while actually eating or drinking).
- All that said, the first meeting (around 275 attendees) and the second meeting (125 people) each reported one positive case during the meeting. No word about more cases (yet).
- Kind of unrelated, but it’s clear that people who drive everywhere do not realize that, if you’re masking and using mass transit, ‘mask wearing time’ includes transit time.
What I find weird about the mask wearing is that it’s just not hard. On Wednesday, I donned my N95 mask (3M Aura 9205) at 7:40am, and with a few short breaks that totaled about twenty minutes (including eating), wore the mask until 7pm*. It wasn’t fun, but it can be done: the point isn’t that I’m tough, it’s that a not-tough guy like me can do this. It’s not fun (eleven hours with an N95 isn’t awesome), but it’s possible.
But I’m willing to take a break from conferences for a while.
*On the days where I had a hotel room, it wasn’t so bad–I could always go to my room for a short while. Fortunately, it was warm enough to dine outside too, so meals weren’t a problem.