The worldwide coronavirus outbreak is naturally of great concern to WM patients and caregivers around the world. Its impact on our daily lives cannot be discounted or ignored.
We encourage all patients, caregivers and families impacted by WM to remain vigilant, and to follow the daily health and sanitary precautions and the travel guidelines being promoted by major public health agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Links to their up-to-date information are provided below.
It’s important that all of us, individually, and as a community, whether patient or caregiver, follow those guidelines to ensure that we can continue to do our best to live healthy, productive lives, and minimize the impact that the coronavirus will have on us and our families. In an effort to assist in that regard, the IWMF will be sending out weekly updates tailored specifically to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the worldwide WM community.
As many of you are aware, the annual IWMF Educational Forum is currently scheduled to take place from June 5-7, 2020 in Seattle, Washington (for details, click here). Many of you are also aware that currently, that city is at the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States. The IWMF continues to closely monitor the situation in the Seattle area and is reviewing all options at this time. We will keep you updated regarding any changes that occur via the weekly update message. As a first step, On March 2nd, the IWMF issued a message that stated the following:
- Registered attendees have the option of obtaining a full refund of the registration fee by May 22nd (it’s suggested that those who’ve registered hold on to their registration until plans for the 2020 Ed Forum are finalized)
- Keep your hotel registration for the event until we finalize plans, as you may cancel up to 72 hours prior to check-in
- If you’ve booked flights, contact your airline regarding their policy regarding refunds or cancellations; also depending upon your particular airline, you may wish to purchase “cancel for any reason” travel insurance.
While the IWMF’s hope is that the outbreak will be significantly diminished by June, we fully understand the gravity of the situation. At this point, it’s quite difficult to forecast whether the situation will improve or worsen by that time. Rest assured we are looking at all options ranging from cancellation, to postponement, to relocation, to making it virtual, etc. Regardless of which option is implemented, the safety and health of the WM community is of utmost importance and remains a top priority.
You can obtain the latest information regarding the coronavirus and how to improve your chances of minimizing its impact at:
- WHO (World Health Organization) – advice for the public, protective measures, etc.
- US CDC (Centers for Disease Control) – information about, and ways to protect yourself against, the coronavirus.
The IWMF wishes to extend its concern and support to everyone around the world who is affected by the disease outbreak, and our hope continues to be for a speedy and effective resolution.
IWMF Board Chair
IWMF President & CEO