Update on 2019-nCoV (the “Coronavirus”)

Dear ISMRM Community,

At this point, everyone has been following this developing global health crisis and are likely as shocked as I have been to see the growth curves for this disease. It has certainly risen to a primary level of concern for our Society. For our members located in severely affected regions or with family or friends affected, you are in our thoughts and central to our concerns. There is not much we can do but hope for your safety and a speedy containment of this epidemic, but we realize that the many difficulties and inconveniences faced by those in affected regions play a direct role in protecting those of us more distant.

I won’t bother recounting facts about the outbreak, since they are changing daily. Both the CDC and the WHO are publishing frequent updates. In my previous post I mentioned the parallels to the 2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto just before our annual meeting there. But it’s hard to know what to make of the similarities between the two outbreaks until more is known about the infection rate, incubation period and lethality of the new virus. Thus, there is a lot we need to know before we can determine its effect on ISMRM activities such as the annual meeting. I can assure you; we will be monitoring the WHO and CDC reports and recommendations closely. A lot can happen (both positive and negative) in the 75 days leading up to our Sydney meeting, but we do not anticipate, at this time, that we will have to make a drastic change to the annual meeting plans. We hope that you will continue your planning and work with us as we navigate this situation. We will update you regularly.

Lawrence L. Wald, Ph.D., ISMRM President