Yesterday the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA) announced that their Annual Conference scheduled for this summer would be an in-person event. It will be held July 12 – 16 at the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA.

Hot damn. A live event with people and everything! I can barely contain my excitement. Our long national nightmare is (starting to be) over.

As we enter our 13 month of “14 days to flatten the curve,” I must commend the leaders at SAWCA for actually leading. It is time to restore some normalcy to people’s lives and stop the economic destruction we have wrought in response to the Covid threat. There will be those that disagree, but it appears that it has been amply demonstrated that we can’t simply continue hiding from a virus hoping it will get bored and wander away. We closed states. We masked up. We canceled events. We destroyed lives economically. We put ridiculous and largely ceremonial plastic shields between retail workers and the world. The workers’ compensation industry endured a myriad of new regulations and responsibilities, for the first time focused on a commonly communicable disease. Yet the numbers kept coming. Numbers that did not seem to have a great bearing on whether a state was wide open or tightly locked down. 

Many of us question the accuracy of the case count. That really doesn’t matter, as I told one doubter recently, “We will all have to die of Covid someday.”

We have been told to, as with all things, “follow the science.” Always follow the science (except in gender determination situations, where we recently have learned science doesn’t know crap – but I digress). To be honest, this past year “following the science” has felt a lot like being escorted by a staggering drunk with ADHD. There is nothing to worry about. There might be something to worry about. We’re all going to die. Masks are useless. Wait, masks may possibly help. Masks will save your life. Wait, you need two masks. Wear them outside. You must wear your masks even at home when you have company. Oh, and you can’t have any company.  

Additionally, there has been a plethora of studies with a myriad of results. It has been very difficult to determine what is actually fact since the fact makers keep making new facts. All we really know for sure is that banning travel from China is racist while banning it from India is prudent and acceptable.

Clearly, I have some things that I’ve wanted to get off my chest. Now, where was I? Oh yes, SAWCA and a live event. 

Today, we have effective vaccines to control the serious threat from Covid. According to the CDC, one of the main fact makers regarding Covid, 106,168,588 Americans, or 32% of our population, had been fully vaccinated as of May 4, 2021. As of yesterday, there had been 33,321,244 reported cases of Covid in the US. That is another 10% of our population that should, at least according to some of the fact makers, have some level of future immunity against the disease. That is getting very close to what the fact makers used to say was needed to achieve “herd immunity.” It was originally said herd immunity could be achieved with 60% infected and/or vaccinated. That number has increased numerous times, and today our drunk ADHD-inflicted escorts are telling us it is 80 to 90%. Whatever.

And more people will be vaccinated. If the government really wants to convince people to step up and get the shot, the fact makers could relax mask requirements, and our fully vaccinated president could stop wearing masks while on Zoom calls with world leaders. We continue to get very mixed messages.

The point is it is time to come out of the shadows and face life in person. The SAWCA conference is always an excellent opportunity to meet and discuss issues directly with state regulators, and even though the organization has done an excellent job of providing virtual events this past year, nothing compares with face-to-face communication. That is what SAWCA is known for, and it is refreshing to see them be one of the first to step up to the plate and return to hosting a live event. 

And if you are concerned, I am certain that proper Covid protocols, such as masks and personal distancing will be in place.

I certainly intend to be there. I am making my plane reservations and securing my dog sled team early to avoid the rush (SAWCA is known for meeting at beautiful locations, if not conveniently located ones – it can be a true Planes, Trains, and Automobiles experience, but still well worth the effort).  

I look forward to being there and reconnecting with many friends whom I have missed. See you at the races.

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