September 8, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

Tomorrow’s releases of daily COVID-19 case numbers by state and federal governments will be the last, with case numbers and other related statistics, including deaths and vaccination rates, to be reported weekly, starting Friday September 16.

Australia’s health ministers met last Friday to agree the move, which was made public yesterday.

It marks the end of an era during COVID that has included daily press conferences announcing case numbers and daily communications tracking the exact status of the pandemic in Australia.

As the pandemic has ebbed and flowed around the country with the rise and fall of different variants and waves, the opening of the nation’s international borders, the easing of restrictions, close contact rules and even the length of the isolation period for confirmed cases – also changing tomorrow – case numbers have provided individuals, organisations and our industry with a solid metric for pandemic risk.

As a writer for the business events industry throughout the entire pandemic and as a private citizen as capable of harbouring COVID as the next person, case numbers have provided a yardstick against which I have hoped and feared for our industry, decided how and where I will socialise and estimated the risk posed by event attendance.

Likewise, I imagine many of micenet’s readers have used daily numbers to adjust COVID measures at events.

Moving to weekly numbers represents the new era we’re moving into, in which almost 39 per cent of the population have a recorded COVID-19 infection – and 14,214 people have died of or with COVID – lockdowns are a thing of the past and few restrictions remain in place to curb the spread of the pandemic-causing coronavirus.

It is good for business events confidence.

The easing of the fixation around daily numbers does impact mindset – as someone who was borderline obsessed with all the metrics, rules and restrictions during the height of the pandemic, because it represented my freedom, my work and to a lesser but rather morbid extent, my life expectancy, the decreased noise around COVID numbers, combined with having only had COVID once, does decrease the amount of mental energy I devote to pandemic worry.

On the other hand, COVID-19 is still very much circulating and events are a proven transmission point, so as an industry we need to continue to think about COVID safety and implement effective measures to minimise the likelihood of spread at events. Lots of fresh air, good ventilation and lots of space.

Because now, if a new variant suddenly introduces an explosion of cases, we won’t know for weeks. And hordes of cases at your event aren’t good for business.