Dr. Seema Yasmin Answers 50 of the Most Googled Coronavirus Questions
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Dr. Seema Yasmin answering questions about the COVID-19

Dr. Seema Yasmin, Professor of Medicine, Stanford University,  is back to help answer 50 of the most popular coronavirus questions being searched right now.

Over the next few weeks she will be responding directly to your questions as they are sent to her.

Today she goes over the first 50 questions of the ones that have been asked so far including;

Do coronavirus symptoms come and go?

Why is it called coronavirus?

Why do they call it “Novel”?

When was it first discovered?

Has this virus been around before?

Get the answers to these questions, and submit yours today.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE!

Fauci wins Webby ‘Person of the Year’
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Dr Anthony Fauci standing behind a podium speaking with an american flag behind him

BY OLAFIMIHAN OSHIN, The Hill

Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has been named Webby’s “Person of the Year.”

The company announced the news on Tuesday, saying Fauci was given the distinction for his efforts serving as a trusted voice during the COVID-19 pandemic, by fact-checking false coronavirus claims from former President Trump and for doing interviews with celebrities spreading information about the virus.

“By taking interviews with influencers, celebrities and YouTube creators on their platforms, Dr. Fauci has provided authoritative information on COVID-19 and vaccine development to younger audiences across the Internet,” Webby said in its announcement.

“For his selfless work in combating harmful misinformation about the global spread of COVID-19 as one of the few credible sources, it is our great privilege to honor Dr. Anthony Fauci as the 2021 Webby Person of the Year.”

The award is given annually to “an individual or group of individuals who have instigated and catalyzed great achievement on the Internet,” according to its website.

Past Webby “Person of The Year” winners include late-night host Stephen Colbert, comedian Louis C.K. and singer-songwriter Frank Ocean, among others.

Click here to read the full article on The Hill.

U.S. Will Protect Gay And Transgender People Against Discrimination In Health Care
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The Biden administration says the government will protect gay and transgender people against sex discrimination in health care. In this 2017 photo, Equality March for Unity and Pride participants march past the White House in Washington.

By Becky Sullivan and Selena Simmons-Duffin, NPR

Gay and transgender people will be protected from discrimination in health care, the Biden administration announced Monday, effectively reversing a Trump-era rule that went into effect last year.

The announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services concerns one of the most notable parts of the Affordable Care Act — the provision in Section 1557 that prevents health care providers and insurance companies from discriminating on the basis “race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities.”

Effective immediately, the agency says it will interpret that provision to encompass discrimination against someone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity in health care.

“Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.”

Officials at HHS framed the change as updating the agency’s interpretation of existing law to bring it into alignment with Bostock v. Clayton County, last year’s landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. That ruling found that LGBTQ people are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banning discrimination on the basis of sex.

“It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the ruling.

That decision last June came down just a few days after the Trump administration finalized a rule removing nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in health care. Though it technically took effect in August, multiple courts have since issued preliminary injunctions blocking some parts of the rule.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. That’s why today HHS announced it will act on related reports of discrimination,” Becerra said.

HHS joins other federal agencies in implementing similar guidance after President Biden signed an executive order called “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation” on his first day in office. The departments of Housing and Urban Development and Justice both issued memoranda earlier this year; in March, the Pentagon overturned the Trump-era rules that effectively banned transgender people from serving in the military.

At HHS, the new interpretation announced Monday puts the agency in position to more aggressively investigate and enforce LBGTQ discrimination complaints.

“We are open for business,” Robinsue Frohboese, acting director in the HHS Office for Civil Rights, said in an interview with NPR. “Ensuring the protections of individuals, of non-discrimination based on their gender identity and sexual orientation, is a critical part of our civil rights mission.”

The Biden administration has yet to put forward a formal rule on this issue. Normally, federal agencies must follow a lengthy process for issuing new rules and regulations. The Trump administration’s rule, which took effect in August, took about a year to finalize and is still technically on the books.

“This is a policy announcement by the administration to say that this is the way that they read the statute and the way that they’ll enforce it — and they can begin doing that without a rule,” said Valarie Blake, a law professor at West Virginia University. “But I anticipate that they’ll promulgate a new rule anyway that gives a little more shape to what sex discrimination means.”

Frohboese declined to say whether the agency is planning to propose a new rule, saying only that the administration is “actively considering” doing so.

The Trump-era rule was itself a reversal of an Obama-era executive action. The Trump administration had worked to define protections against sex discrimination throughout government to exclude LGBTQ people.

When that rule was finalized last year, LGBTQ people and advocates criticized the change, saying it could have a chilling effect on gay and transgender people seeking needed health care.

“Our mission as the Department of Health and Human Services is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, including LGBTQ individuals and everyone. Everyone needs access to health care. No one should be discriminated against in this. This change in rules and regulations will help us do that,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health, who in March became the first openly transgender person to serve in a Senate-confirmed position.

Advocacy groups such as the ACLU and Lambda Legal applauded Monday’s announcement but continued to push for a full rollback of the Trump administration’s rule. In addition to limiting the definition of sex discrimination, the change under Trump included a number of other provisions, such as eliminating a requirement to include notice of nondiscrimination policies in multiple languages in health-related mailings and reducing the number of entities covered by the law’s nondiscrimination provision.

“The significant step taken today is just one step in what is a long road to undo the undermining of health care protections for all people under the Trump administration,” Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, an attorney with Lambda Legal, said in a statement.

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

First baby in U.S. born with antibodies against COVID-19 after mom receives dose of Moderna vaccine while pregnant
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A needle is being filled with the COVID-19 vaccine. The hand holding the vaccine bottle is wearing a purple glove.

BY SOPHIE LEWIS

At 36 weeks pregnant, a South Florida frontline health care worker received her first shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. She gave birth three weeks later to a healthy baby girl — with COVID-19 antibodies.


Doctors believe the newborn marks the first known case of a baby born with coronavirus antibodies in the U.S., which may offer her some protection against the virus.

Photo : Getty Images

Dr. Paul Giblert and Dr. Chad Rudnick presented their findings in a preprint study, meaning it has not yet been peer-reviewed. They found that the antibodies were detected at the time of delivery, after analyzing blood from the baby’s umbilical cord taken immediately after birth and before placenta delivery.
“We have demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies are detectable in a newborn’s cord blood sample after only a single dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine,” they concluded. “Thus, there is potential for protection and infection risk reduction from Sars-CoV-2 with maternal vaccination.”

The doctors emphasize, however, that more research is needed to verify the safety and efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines during pregnancy.

It was already known that mothers previously infected with COVID-19 can pass antibodies on to their newborns. Additionally, the passage of antibodies from mother to baby through the placenta is well documented in other vaccines, including that for influenza, so doctors were hopeful the same newborn protection would be possible after maternal vaccination against COVID-19.
“It really starts aligning the COVID vaccine with those vaccines that we already use in pregnant women like the flu vaccine,” Dr. Neeta Ogden, an internal medicine specialist and immunologist, told CBSN on Wednesday. “We really need, and it is clear that we need, significant data on how safe it is in pregnant women.”
These early results may help give pregnant women more reason to consider getting the vaccine.

“This also is hopeful because it offers a level of protection to one of the most vulnerable populations, the newborn,” Ogden said, emphasizing the need to further study in pregnant women during this pandemic.

Since we don’t have COVID vaccines approved for children yet, she said, “If we can see this kind of safe maternal transmission of antibodies from the vaccine to newborns, I think that’s really a great step in the right direction.”
Other recent studies, also shared in preprint and not yet peer-reviewed, support the findings.

Massachusetts General Hospital recently studied 131 women — 84 pregnant, 31 breastfeeding and 16 non-pregnant — who all received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. They found equally strong immune responses in the pregnant and lactating women as the control group. Additionally, antibodies were present in the placenta and breastmilk of every sample taken.

“Maternal vaccine-generated antibodies were detected in the umbilical cord blood of all 10 babies who delivered during our study period,” co-author Dr. Andrea Edlow, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, told CBS News on Wednesday. “Our data suggest that receiving both shots of the mRNA vaccine leads to improved antibody transfer to newborns.”

Read the full article at  CBSNEWS.

Gaming healthcare: Virtual reality gives surgeons life-like training
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Shot of male professor and four medical students wearing VR goggles and studying human bones anatomy. Multiethnical team of doctors exam human

By , Tech Republic

Gamer-turned-doctor created a company that helps physicians become better at their jobs, especially during a pandemic.

TechRepublic’s Karen Roby spoke with Dr. Justin Barad, surgeon, CEO, and co-founder of Osso VR, about using virtual reality to train surgeons. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Karen Roby: Tell us about how VR is helping when it comes to training physicians and then we’ll get into how you got into this.

Justin Barad: We really try and lead by problem, at Osso VR, we practice something called need-based innovation. I think describing how training works in healthcare today can help explain what we’re trying to do at Osso. The problem that we’re facing when it comes to training healthcare professionals, and this is anything really from putting in an IV to doing complex robotic surgery, are really four dynamics currently. The first is, there is simply too much to learn, so in a way, we’re victims of our own success.

If you think about it, scientific and technological progress are constantly expanding the library of procedures healthcare professionals are just expected to know how to do on-demand. I always tell this story, this is a very extreme example, but I was one day just eating lunch minding my own business when I was paged urgently to the zoo to operate on a gorilla that had been pushed off a cliff, we’re driving down to the zoo, I didn’t know I was expected to be able to operate on gorillas, there’s a lot of Googling going on and that went great. That’s a whole other probably interview for another time.

The view inside a virtual reality training surgery on a leg. TechRepublic's Karen Roby spoke with Dr. Justin Barad, surgeon, CEO and co-founder of Osso VR, about using virtual reality to train surgeons
The view inside a virtual reality training surgery on a leg. TechRepublic’s Karen Roby spoke with Dr. Justin Barad, surgeon, CEO and co-founder of Osso VR, about using virtual reality to train surgeons. Image: Osso VR

What that highlighted for me is that every day in healthcare, we’re dealing with a gorilla-like situation, either a surgery we’ve never done before, a type of pathology or anatomy that we’re unfamiliar with or haven’t seen in a while. That was a really eye-opening moment for me. The second part of the problem is that modern procedures, modern surgery is a lot more complicated than those of the past, so learning curves are getting a lot longer, in some cases, 10 times longer. A recent study showed that to become proficient in a modern, minimally invasive procedure for something like maybe hip replacement, you have to do the surgery 50 to a 100 times to do it proficiently. And that wasn’t people in training, that was a fully trained specialized joint surgeon, still needed to do it 50 to 100 times, yet the way that we train is still the same. It’s a century old.

The third part of the problem, and this is often very shocking to people outside of healthcare, is that there is almost no assessment of technical skills whatsoever at any point. To give you an example, in my career as a surgeon and I can’t wait to tell you the story of how this all came to be, but the only time I’ve really been objectively assessed for my technical ability, I was asked to play the board game operation and remove the funny bone piece without buzzing, which I did and I’m very proud of.

Click here to read the

12 Important Updates For World Cancer Day
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watercolor colorful world map

Today is World Cancer Day. The theme of this year’s observance is “Together, all our actions matter.”

The message supports the understanding that everyone can take steps — big or small — to reduce the worldwide cancer burden.

This goal may be even more important due to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on cancer care.

“It appears quite certain that disruptions to cancer services in the past year will lead to diagnosis at later stages, which — in turn — will translate into higher cancer-related mortality,” Prof. Anil D’Cruz, president of Union for International Cancer Control and director of oncology at Apollo Hospitals in India, said in a press release. “Worse still, the wider economic impact of the pandemic on cancer care in all probability will be felt for many years to come, even in high-income countries. In low- and middle-income countries, the impact is unfathomable. However, it is heartening to see the incredible response of the cancer community to mitigate these consequences. … Their stories are inspiring and these organizations need all the support we can provide to keep doing their incredible work.”

Union for International Cancer Control created World Cancer Day in 2000.

Part of the effort focuses on healthy lifestyle choices, such as getting sufficient physical activity, following a healthy diet, protecting against sun exposure, limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco.

Other objectives include educating the public about the signs and symptoms of cancer to ensure early detection and treatment, encouraging elected representatives to commit ample resources to reduce cancer mortality, and increasing awareness that lifestyle behaviors can have a considerable effect on cancer risk.

In conjunction with World Cancer Day, Healio and HemOnc Today present the following updates that provide insights into strategies that could help reduce the global cancer burden.

  1. Adhering to the basic principles of a Mediterranean diet prevented disease progression among men with localized prostate cancer on active surveillance. Read more.
  2. A coalition of 76 cancer organizations released an open letter urging Americans to make cancer care a priority amid the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the benefits of screening and timely treatment far outweigh the risks. Read more.
  3. Greater adherence to a diabetes risk-reduction diet appeared associated with increased OS among a cohort of breast cancer survivors. Read more.
  4. Obesity-associated cancers are an emergent problem among younger adults. Read more.
  5. Patients who underwent lung cancer screening had a significant reduction in mortality associated with the disease, although it came with the potential for overdiagnosis. Read more.
  6. A poor-quality diet appeared associated with an increased risk for early-onset, high-risk distal and rectal adenomas. Read more.
  7. Physical activity before and after breast cancer treatment appeared associated with significant reductions in recurrence and mortality rates among a cohort of patients with high-risk disease. Read more.
  8. An updated American Cancer Society guideline increases the amount of weekly physical activity recommended to reduce cancer risk. The guideline also suggested individuals reduce consumption of red and processed meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, processed foods and alcohol. Read more.
  9. Recreational physical activity appeared associated with improved survival outcomes among women with endometrial cancer. Read more.
  10. Cancer survivors often overestimate the quality of their diets, reporting a higher-than-actual intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Read more.
  11. A healthy diet appeared associated with a decreased risk for prostate cancer. Read more.
  12. The risk for colorectal cancer increased with cigarette smoking. Read more.

Read the full article at Healio.

Artificial Kidney Could Supplant Dialysis, The Decades-Old Standard Treatment For Kidney Failure
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Image of kidneys blue background

Ira Kurtz, MD, chief of Nephrology at UCLA Health, believes the kidney is the human body’s most fascinating organ — even smarter, he says, than the brain.

For Dr. Kurtz and his colleagues, the holy grail long has been the development of a wearable and an implantable artificial kidney to replace the cumbersome dialysis process that has been the standard treatment for renal failure since the 1950s.

Now, after a five-year collaboration between the US Kidney Research Corporation, the University of Arkansas and UCLA Health, Dr. Kurtz and a team of researchers are on the verge of achieving that goal with the introduction of an artificial kidney that can be worn inside a backpack. If things proceed as hoped, within a few years a similar device could be implanted in the body as an artificial organ.

In July 2019, U.S. nephrologists celebrated when then-President Donald Trump announced in an executive order that his administration wanted to transform the care for 37 million Americans suffering from kidney disease, which kills more people annually than most cancers.

“It made a major splash in the renal community because it was the first time kidney care had really reached that kind of level in the government,” Dr. Kurtz said.

With the U.S. government spending an estimated $114 billion in Medicare payments each year to care for patients with kidney disease, it seemed like a prudent move.

“The total amount the federal government spends on kidney care is approximately 20% of Medicare’s trillion a year budget,” Dr. Kurtz said. “It’s billions with a B. So this is one reason the federal government wants changes to be made. For the first time, all the forces started coming together. The government, universities, and industry-recognized we have to do something. We can’t continue managing patients the same way we have for 50 years or more. Everything we do is the same as when I was trained in the ’70s. There’s nothing new. It’s the same hemodialysis, the same peritoneal dialysis.”

The lack of progress over the years in treating people with kidney failure can be attributed, in part, to the characteristics that Dr. Kurtz finds most interesting about the organ. The kidneys act as a complex chemistry and biology lab – recognizing numerous substances (water, ions, and organic molecules) that need to be excreted in the urine, thereby keeping the blood chemistry relatively constant. That makes the human heart seem like a much simpler organ, “just a pump,” he said.

Read the full article at UCLA Health.

Same Technology Behind Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine is Leading Researchers to Possible MS Breakthrough
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Nurse's hand holding a syringe giving a vaccination to a patient

BioNTech, the German firm which together with Pfizer created one of the COVID-19 vaccines, says they have used the same technology to create a vaccine which delayed the onset and reduced the severity of multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice.

Clinical trials published in Science showed that not only was the progression of the disease halted, but some lost motor function was recovered in the mice.

Both jabs use a piece of genetic material called mRNA which trains your genes to encode for proteins optimally designed to fight against whichever disease they are programed to fight. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, it trains your cells to produce antibodies that destroy the virus before it can replicate.

In the case of MS, which is not a virus but rather a disorder of the autonomic immune system, the auto-antigen encoded within the mRNA helped the immune system tolerate specific MS-related proteins without compromising normal immune function.

This halted the progression of the disease, and even restored lost motor function in mice.

The mice weren’t carrying MS, but rather experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, which the authors of the study, conducted by the BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin M.D. Ph.D., described as “represents clinically relevant mouse models of human MS.”

Currently incurable, around one million Americans live with the autoimmune disease that causes loss of certain motor functions and brain degeneration. The disease mistakenly targets cells in the protective myelin sheath that covers nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Read the original article at Good News Network.

UCSD Developing Sticker that Functions as COVID Test on Masks
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COVID Test on Blue Mask

By ABC7 News

UC San Diego researchers are developing a simple way to test for COVID-19 risk. The technology comes in the form of a sticker placed on the outside of your mask.

“This could have a really profound impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” Jesse Jokerst, an associate professor at UC San Diego, told KGTV.

The test looks for the presence of a specific COVID-19 protease in people’s breath. As someone wears the sticker

(Image Credit – ABC7 News)

on the mask throughout the day, it collects droplets. “At the end of the day, you click a little blister pack, and if it changes color, that means that you might have been exposed to COVID and that you should seek out some additional testing,” Jokerst said.

The National Institutes of Health just gave UC San Diego $1.3 million to develop this sticker and assess its accuracy to enhance surveillance of the disease around the world.

The test uses a technique called “Colorimetric Detection,” similar to home-pregnancy test indicators. Jokerst likens it to a smoke alarm. The test won’t tell you exactly what’s going on, but it serves as a warning that you need to take further action for safety.

“That’s what we were trying to develop. It’s a device that could say, ‘Hey, today there’s an elevated risk, and everybody should seek some additional testing,'” Jokerst explained. This kind of color-based test has never been used for viral detection. Jokerst says that once the pandemic ends, these tests could still assess the risk of diseases like SARS and MERS.

Read the original article at ABC7 News

Stressed out? Blame bad technology
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By Reuters

There is no question that we are all more dependent on technology than ever. So what happens when that tech does not work?

In the past, Emily Dreyfuss used an old-school strategy: She yelled.

When Amazon’s Alexa spat out wrong answers or misunderstood questions, Dreyfuss let the virtual assistant have it.

“I used her as a scapegoat for my feelings,” said Dreyfuss, a writer and editor for Harvard’s Shorenstein Center. “When you have a non-sentient and annoying device in your home, who isn’t doing what you want, I talked to her in not the nicest terms. And my husband ganged up on her, too.”

Tech frustrations like this have happened to all of us. Your wifi is always dropping out. Your passwords do not work. Your laptop crashes, and you lose everything you were working on. Just reading about those possibilities could be enough to raise your blood pressure.

Technology can damage our state of mind, and new research is bearing that out: Computer giant Dell Technologies, in partnership with neuroscience firm EMOTIV, put people through a gauntlet of bad tech experiences, and then measured their brainwaves to gauge their reactions.

Test subjects had trouble logging on, or had to navigate sluggish applications, or saw their spreadsheets crash.

“The moment people started using bad technology, we saw a doubling of their levels of stress,” said Olivier Oullier, EMOTIV’s president. “I was a bit surprised by that, because you rarely see those levels going so high. Tech stress had a lasting effect, Oullier added. “People don’t relax back into calmness quickly. It takes a long time.”

Company bottom lines have suffered along with the mental health of employees. Constant frustration with bad tech affects how staffers handle their daily workloads, especially younger workers. Gen Z and Millennial test subjects saw a whopping 30% productivity drop as a result.

“Bad experiences affect you regardless of computer literacy,” said Cile Montgomery, who leads customer experience initiatives for Dell. “But young people seem to be even more impacted, because they expect technology to work.”

Read the full article at Reuters.

The ‘Last Mile’ for COVID-19 Vaccines Could Be The Biggest Challenge Yet
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Nurse's hand holding a syringe giving a vaccination to a patient

A race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine began almost the minute the coronavirus’s genetic makeup was revealed in January.

Already, two companies have announced that their vaccines appear safe and about 95 percent effective (SN: 11/18/20, SN: 11/16/20). Government regulators in the United Kingdom granted permission on December 2 for the emergency use of a vaccine made by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German biotech partner BioNTech. The first doses could be delivered within days of the announcement. Emergency use authorization and even full approval of the vaccines are probably not far off in the United States and other countries.

But another race is just beginning. Ultimately, the vaccines won’t truly be successful until enough people have gotten them to stop the spread of the virus and prevent severe disease and death. And that will pose a logistical challenge unlike any other. In normal times, potential vaccines have only a 10 percent chance of making it from Phase II clinical trials — which test safety, dosing, and sometimes give hints about effectiveness — to approval within 10 years, researchers reported November 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. On average, it takes successful vaccines over four years to go from Phase II trials to full regulatory approval.

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    September 15, 2021 - September 17, 2021
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    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021
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    October 30, 2021 - November 1, 2021
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Upcoming Events

  1. Commercial UAV Expo Americas, Las Vegas
    September 7, 2021 - September 9, 2021
  2. WiCyS 2021 Conference
    September 8, 2021 @ 8:00 am - September 10, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
  3. 2021 ERG & Council Conference
    September 15, 2021 - September 17, 2021
  4. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021
  5. HACU’s 35th Annual Conference
    October 30, 2021 - November 1, 2021
  6. AEC Next Technology Expo & Conference, International Lidar Mapping Forum, and SPAR 3D Expo & Conference
    February 6, 2022 - February 8, 2022