Create a Live Video Community (and Why You Would Want to)
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There is a good chance that most people reading this have tuned into at least one live video over the last week. It’s something that is becoming increasingly popular, and is expected to continue to increase in popularity going forward. There are many good reasons why more influencers and businesses alike are turning to creating a live video community, and harnessing the power that it can offer. Now is the time to learn how to create a live video community and why it’s so important to do so.

“People are showing that they love live video and interacting with it in a big way,” explains Alexander Riesenkampff, the chief executive officer of GetVokl, a livestreaming platform. “We have helped many people build and grow their live video community, and know that as this field continues to grow, we will be helping many more.”

People tend to feel more urgency to watch a live video. Seeing that it’s live gets them interested. The area of live video offers a lot of potential for those who are brand influencers, businesses, or those who want to make a strong connection with their followers. Not only is viewing live video on the rise, but research shows that it tends to outperform recorded video.

Those interested in creating a live video community should spend a little time exploring how others have done it. GetVokl, for example, has many live communities that can be accessed, providing a good place to do a little homework and learn the ins and outs. Once you are ready to get started, GetVokl can help you create a larger community. They also make it easy to directly monetize the audience. The app allows each live video to be shown across multiple platforms at one time. This ensures that your video is live across all platforms, rather than being live on one and then having to post a recorded video to the others.

Here are 5 reasons why it’s a good idea to create a live video community:

  • Live video gives you the ability to increase engagement and interaction with your audience. It allows for immediate feedback and discussion. This helps to build authority, make a connection, and increase loyalty.
  • An effective marketing tool, creating a live video community can lead to an increase in sales and revenue. It gives all types of companies and influencers a way to increase their earnings.
  • Live video communities feel real and authentic. This is one of the reasons why people prefer it to recorded videos. Most recorded videos are heavily edited, yet people prefer the authenticity that comes with it being live.
  • There is a greater ability to make an impact when you engage in live video with your target audience. They can ask questions, provide immediate feedback, and get to know your personality more.
  • Audiences tend to watch for a longer period of time when the information is coming to them live, as opposed to in a recorded video. Keeping your target market watching longer makes for a more effective marketing experience.

“Creating a livestream community is something anyone can do,” added Riesenkampff. “Once you do it, you will see there are benefits. It’s like getting the chance to be with your people in the same room, even if they are thousands of miles away. Whether you hold Q&A sessions, offer how-to talks, host interviews, provide advice, or just offer fun looks into what you are doing, it leaves a powerful mark.”

GetVokl is an app that allows people to livestream across multiple platforms at one time. It’s free to use and ideal for podcasters, coaches, teachers, bloggers, reporters, or others who want their livestream to reach people on multiple platforms. It’s quick to set up and easy to use, requiring only minimal technical knowledge. GetVokl also features VCoin, which helps podcasters earn more money by letting people give tips or donations as the livestreaming takes place. To learn more about GetVokl or to download the app, visit the site: https://getvokl.com/.

 To learn more about how VCoin works, watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qroHqQY0IjY&feature=youtu.be.

About GetVokl:
GetVokl is a free livestreaming community platform built for podcasters, livestreamers, and hosts to unleash the potential of their audiences through interactive live shows that inspire and create vibrant communities. GetVokl allows a livestream to be broadcast over multiple social media platforms at one time. Join or create your live video community. To learn more about GetVokl, please visit https://about.getvokl.com.

Emmys 2020: Record Number of Black Actors Score Nominations
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The Television Academy nominated a record number of Black actors for Emmys on Tuesday morning, with 34.3% of the acting nominees being Black.

There were 102 acting nominees this year across lead, supporting and guest categories for drama, comedy and limited series/TV movie. Thirty-five of those slots went to Black actors (notably, Maya Rudolph actually accounts for two of those slots, being nominated against herself in the guest comedy actress category for her work on both “The Good Place” and “Saturday Night Live”).

Other nominees in top acting categories include Billy Porter, Sterling K. Brown, Zendaya, Anthony Anderson, Don Cheadle, Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Regina King, Jeremy Pope, Octavia Spencer and Kerry Washington.

This is a notable increase from last year, when Black actors made up 19.8% of the nominee pool, as well as an increase from 2018, when there were 27.7% Black actors nominated — the previous highest percentage in the Academy’s history.

“2020 isn’t just about the global health crisis. This year we are also bearing witness to one of the greatest fights for social justice in history, and it is our duty to use this medium for change. That is the power and responsibility of television — not only delivering a multitude of services or a little escapism, but also amplifying the voices that must be heard and telling the stories that must be told. Because television, by its very nature, connects us all,” said Frank Scherma, chairman and CEO, Television Academy, at the start of the nominations announcement.

But the fight for inclusion is far from over, as these numbers have ticked up but are still far from parity. And although the acting categories are still split by gender, which forces parity, the writing and directing categories are not.

The writing categories fared better than directing, but only marginally, when it came to parity. Not including the variety series writing category which lists entire staffs on the ballots, the select writers scoring noms in the drama, comedy, limited series/TV movie/dramatic special, variety special and documentary or nonfiction program consisted of 40 people, 13 of which were women. This is 32.5% women nominees (67.5% men). The limited series/TV movie/dramatic special category is what really made the difference, with six of nine nominees here being women, including “Unorthodox’s” Anna Winger and “Normal People’s” Sally Rooney and Alice Birch.

Continue on to Variety to read the complete article.

Diverse Concert Series announced by Kennedy Center & Facebook
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Stage for a concert Online transmission. Business concept for a concert online production

As previously announced with the Kennedy Center’s Social Impact initiatives, the Center will launch Arts Across America on July 27, a program to uplift artists and showcase art from communities and regions across the country in this time of uncertainty.

Over 20 weeks, Arts Across America will feature free, digital performances from over 200 diverse, visionary artists who play leadership roles in their communities, exemplify unique regional artistic styles, and are using their medium as a tool for advocacy and social justice. Arts Across America is made possible and livestreamed by Facebook and will continue through December 11, 2020.

“Bringing the world closer together is at the core of Facebook and that’s exactly why we’re supporting the Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America program to help people around the country connect virtually through their appreciation for the arts,” said Facebook’s Director of Public Affairs Robert Traynham. “We look forward to seeing the diverse artists share their talents through this innovative program.”

Arts Across America will be available on Facebook Live, YouTube, and the Kennedy Center website, five days a week at 4 p.m. ET.  A rotating performance schedule will feature performers presented by the Kennedy Center and presenting partner organizations invited to curate performances as identified by the National Endowment for the Arts’s Regional Artist Organizations:Arts Midwest; Mid-America Arts Alliance; Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; New England Foundation for the Arts; South Arts; Western States Arts Federation; jurisdictional arts agencies representing U.S. territories; and Sankofa.org. An initial calendar for this celebration of all who contribute to the culture of the U.S. is below: 

  • July 27: Minneapolis, Minnesota – Arts MidWest: TruArtSpeaks
  • July 28: Virginia – Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and The Floyd Country Store: Earl White and Eddie Bond
  • July 30: Miami, Florida – South Arts: Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami, Sammy Figueroa, and Celia & Paco Fonta
  • July 31: Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona – West Arts: Brian Lopez
  • August 3: Burlington, Vermont – New England Foundation for the Arts and The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts: Christal Brown
  • August 4: Kansas City, Missouri – Mid-America Arts Alliance, The Bruce R. Watkins Center, and 1KC Radio: Glenn North
  • August 6: The Virgin Islands Council on the Arts: Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights and the AY AY Cultural Dancers
  • August 11: Maryland – Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation: Joe’s Movement Emporium
  • August 13: Tennessee and Kentucky – South Arts: Amythyst Kiah and The Local Honeys

More information about Arts Across America can be found HERE.

Pokémon GO Fest 2020: What to Know About This Virtual Event
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Pokemon Go virtual event poster

Families who play Pokémon GO and have dreamed of taking their kids to the game’s annual live event, Pokémon GO Fest, may have an easier time doing it this year.

The augmented reality game played via mobile app encourages participants to get out and explore their real-world surroundings by connecting the Pokémon universe to actual local businesses and landmarks

But due to the coronavirus pandemic, the game’s creators are taking the need to travel out of the equation, allowing families to participate in Pokémon GO Fest 2020 right in their own backyards.

Niantic formerly held Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, Illinois, and in cities in Germany and Japan, where hundreds of thousands of fans traveled to designated outdoor parks to meet up in person and participate in special in-game challenges. But the spread of COVID-19 left the game creators needing a more socially distant way to connect fans.

“While we can’t bring hundreds of thousands of people together in a local park, we can certainly recreate the spirit of what Pokémon GO Fest represents,” Niantic said in a blog post. “We’ve designed this year’s event so trainers around the world can go outside to play and celebrate the summer, and do so, of course, while practicing social distancing and being safe.”

Tickets for the 2020 event, which will be held over the weekend of July 25-26, are on sale now.   A GO Fest ticket, which covers both days of play, will cost each participant (each mobile device running the event and playing along) $14.99. Participants will enjoy a brand new adventure within the app on those days, and will have special projects and assignments to complete, all exclusive to the ticketed event.

During past in-person Pokémon GO events, the parks where the events were held were split into various “habitats,” where players could complete tasks and catch different Pokémon. For the virtual event, there will be rotating habitats within the app which will change every hour, regardless of the player’s geographic location.

Niantic plans to donate all proceeds from Pokémon GO Fest ticket sales to supporting the Black community amid the continuing protests surrounding the deaths of George Floyd other victims of police brutality. The proceeds will fund new projects from Black gaming and augmented reality creators as well as donating to U.S. non-profit organizations who are helping communities rebuild.

This story first appeared on TODAY.com.

With Comic-Con canceled, Warner Bros to hold virtual event ‘DC FanDome’ on Aug. 22
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Fandome promo poster

Comic-Con may be canceled this year, but Warner Bros.’ FanDome will convene a 24-hour virtual gathering of the biggest names in the DC Comics universe.

The studio announced Tuesday that DC FanDome will be held on August 22 starting at 10 a.m. PDT. The event will feature talent announcements and reveal new content from WB games, comics, film and television.

The announcement comes a couple months after Comic-Con, which attracts tens of thousands of comics fans to San Diego, was canceled due to the coronavirus-related restrictions around large gatherings.

Virtual panels will feature cast and creators from DC films including “The Batman,” “Black Adam” and “Wonder Woman 1984.” The panels will also highlight casts from television shows such as “The Flash,” “Stargirl” and “Black Lightning.”

“Wonder Woman 1984” was expected to be one of the summer’s biggest releases, but its arrival in theaters has been delayed until October.

FanDome will be spread out across six different areas on the event’s website: Hall of Heroes, DC WatchVerse, DC YouVerse, DC KidsVerse, DC InsiderVerse and DC FunVerse.

Continue on to KTLA News to read the complete article.

What Strides have the LGBTQ+ Community made in Diversity?
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Two lgbtq men holding a rainbow flag with their arms around each other

The LGBTQ+ community has made tremendous strides in the last decade. Since 2010, almost 30 countries have passed same-sex marriage laws around the world, and in the United States alone, there has been a larger cultural shift and acceptance of those with different sexual orientations and gender identities.

This isn’t to say that the world has achieved a 100% acceptance rate or to ignore the fact there is still a lot more work to be done in advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ people, but the progress being made by the community has been significant in numbers.

Legislatively, the LGBTQ+ community and the disability community, as a comparison, have both made tremendous progress from the new Americans with Disability Act passed in 2011 to legalizing same-sex marriage in 2015. In United States, about 15 million people identify as being LGBTQ+, while the largest minority in the United States, the disability community, has about 40 million people.

One of the big milestones that pushed LGBTQ+ acceptance was the cultural significance that came from it. Celebrities in the world of entertainment, athletics, and politics coming out as LGBTQ+ along with the public support of straight celebrities, such as Prince William, encouraged a normalization of the community and further pushed for the legislative and cultural response needed for LGBTQ+ equality.

However, this normalization in society of the LGBTQ+ community has received a tremendous amount of backlash to these cultural shifts. Many of been discriminated against, bullied, harassed and even killed for their sexual orientations or gender identities.

There is still injustice toward the community, and there is still room to improve acceptance. However, the progress that has been made is present, encouraging and could fuel the fire to keep LGBTQ+ activism alive.

The First Pharmacy to Add Drones for Delivery
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A drone holding a small UPS package flies in front of a CVS Pharmacy

CVS, in an effort to ensure proper medication is easily available to those who need it the most, has been utilizing in-store pickup, drive through services, and free delivery to distribute their prescriptions. But for the first time in history, in partnership with UPS, one CVS pharmacy will start delivering medication in a new way—by drone.

The Villages, the largest retirement facility in the United States, located in central Florida, will begin receiving their prescription medications from CVS via drone delivery starting in early May and is expected to continue until the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Drone delivery will enable more social distancing of especially susceptible members of the community and decrease the chances of infection on both sides. The drones will only be flying a half-mile distance to a separate location and transported by truck from there.

Though this technology is rarely used presently, this isn’t the first time that drone delivery has been tested. In fact, drone delivery was first utilized by UPS to make deliveries to WakeMed’s flagship campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, and at UC San Diego in California. These deliveries, as well as the ones that will be made in Florida, adhere to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 rules and have permission to be utilized during the pandemic.

Deployment of delivery drones during the pandemic could potentially open up to possibilities of drone delivery in the future and among other CVS pharmacies.

To read the full press release, click here

This New COVID-19 Test is Bringing Us Closer to the Cure
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The University of Washington’s Virology Lab has been working tirelessly since the COVID-19 pandemic began. It was one of the first labs to formulate a test for the presence of the virus and has processed thousands of these tests at its facilities. In fact, the university’s virology lab is currently processing its newest success in partnership with Abbott Labs’ antibody test for COVID-19.

The University has been running trials of Abbott Labs’ antibody blood tests, designed to find out who has natural or built-up immunity to COVID-19. The trials have proved to be incredibly successful.

Though showing immunity isn’t a cure, it is a major step to getting to that point. Knowing who is immune and who has had the virus before helps track the origins of the disease, knowing the components that can be used in a vaccine, and helps ensure the safety of bringing people back into the workforce. It is unclear how the antibodies of the novel coronavirus work or if you could get infected with the virus a second time, but Keith Jerome, the leader of the University of Washington’s virology program, assured that people with the antibodies will have more protection than those who do not. Receiving the virus a second time could result in more cold-like symptoms and not require the extreme hospitalization methods in place now.

The work being done in the study of antibodies through the University of Washington would not be possible without Abbott’s partnership. The antibody test produced by Abbott is not the first of its kind to be produced, but it is said to be the most reliable and the most sensitive in analyzation. In fact, Abbott’s test has correctly identified COVID-19 99.6% of the time against other viruses and has a 100% sensitivity to the coronavirus antibodies. Best of all, the test only takes about ten to fifteen minutes to retrieve the results.

“This starts to get us to the point that we can make a difference for the population of our area, get people back to work and give them back the lives that they were hoping for,” Jerome said.

What You Need to Know to be the Best Ally to All Genders
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This past March, we celebrated Transgender Visibility Day. While this holiday can be used for people who identify as transgender to come out to their peers and celebrate being their true selves, it is also used to educate the public on the struggles of the transgender community.

Especially within the last year, several incidents have made many members of the transgender community feel invalidated or unequal. These incidents mainly include the Department of Defense’s decision to exclude transgender people from enlisting in the military (unless they present themselves as cisgender), the limitations on medical help people who identify as transgender can receive, and even if they can participate in major sporting competitions. Making the public aware about the impact these events have on transgender people can help to better educate cisgender people on how they can present themselves as more supportive.

But, being educated on the issues is just one of the ways a person can show they are an ally to the transgender community. The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ youth, suggests that some of the best ways to show support for those who do not identify as cisgender is to learn the terminology, expressions and differences that exist among genders. The Trevor Project has created a guide on how to be a better ally to people who identify as transgender or non-binary, but some of the key tips from the guide include:

  • Learning the difference between sex (a person’s given classification as male, female or intersex) and gender (how a person identifies and expresses themselves the most comfortably).
  • Don’t assume a person’s gender based on their looks. Gender expression, the way in which a person dresses and acts, can be fluid and interchangeable and not adhere to the strict “masculine” and “feminine” categories.
  • Respect the labels and the pronouns. Putting aside assumptions on gender can be difficult, especially when we live in a society that has enforced a binary for so long. Whether you’re meeting a person for the first time or know someone who is transitioning, using the preferred names and pronouns for people can show validation for how they are expressing themselves.
Jim Ryan and the Wheelie 7: A Game Changer for Mobility
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Jim Ryan, male, sitting in his HOOBOX Robotics' Wheelie 7 wheelchair in his living room, smiling for the camera

By Jaeson “Doc” Parsons

The date of March 30th, 2016, will be forever etched into the mind of Jim Ryan. That day, while vacationing in Maui with his wife, Isabelle, a wave struck him in waist deep water, driving him into the sea floor. He surfaced, unconscious and unresponsive. In that split second, Ryan was paralyzed, becoming a quadriplegic from his C4 vertebrae down. In that moment, his life was changed forever.

Ryan is not alone. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, nearly 288,000 people in the United States are living with spinal cord injuries, and there about 17,700 new cases each year.

For those with movement-limiting conditions like Ryan, getting around can exact a terrible toll on quality of life and autonomy. A 2018 study found that physical mobility has the largest impact on quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries. Mobility is often enabled through caregivers or through a motorized wheelchair with complex sensors placed on the body that require special education to operate.

With this in mind, technology company Intel partnered with robotics company Hoobox to create the first-ever artificial intelligence-powered wheelchair that translates facial expressions into freedom of movement.

Using a combination of Intel hardware and software, Hoobox developed ‘The Wheelie’—a wheelchair kit that utilizes facial recognition technology to capture, process, and translate facial expressions into real-time wheelchair commands, finally providing individuals such as Ryan with autonomy, regardless of the physical limitations they’re facing. This system is a kit which can be installed on any motorized wheelchair system and, at under 7 minutes for installation, is relatively easy to implement.

Like many individuals suffering from spinal cord injuries, Ryan was using a conventional motorized system, one that uses a head array to translate gestures into movement.

“Before the Wheelie I drove my wheelchair with the head array. It is like a horseshoe around my head with five buttons that I used to turn left, right, forward, back, and change modes,” Ryan said. “Because of the head array, I am unable to look left and right. Nor can I wear hats of virtually any type. The hats get in the way of my buttons.”

Hoobox saw this limitation and found a way through it. By incorporating AI and a camera, the Wheelie 7 operates without invasive body sensors, providing users with independence and control over their location. It translates 11 different facial expressions into wheelchair commands in real time with 99.9% accuracy. And its performance improves over time as the algorithm learns to recognize the user’s expressions, allowing for increased freedom of movement.

“The Wheelie allows me to turn my head left and right and wear any hat I want,” said Ryan, who was introduced to Hoobox’s Wheelie through a group in Vancouver. He is one of more than 60 individuals who are testing the new technology to help Hoobox developers understand their needs and requirements.

Since being introduced to the Wheelie 7, Ryan has improved not just his mobility, but his lifestyle as well.

“I now can look left and right, up and down. I can wear a sun hat or baseball hat in the summer and nice winter hat or hoodie in the winter,” he said.

As technology continues its march forward with advances in AI systems, the limitations on mobility for those suffering from debilitating injuries like Ryan are beginning to see a transformation.

Wheelie 7 is a game changer in improving access to mobility solutions for those with conditions resulting from nearly 500,000 spinal cord injuries per year. But through continued research and development by companies such as Intel and Hoobox, and with the help of individuals such as Ryan, mobility is becoming a reality.

“For a person like me it gives a tremendous amount of freedom,” he said. “By using facial expressions instead of head movements, the Wheelie allows me more freedom and comfort in my wheelchair. And for anyone else with limited movement like me, it can be at true asset.”

General Atomics and Its Affiliates Unite in Fight Against COVID-19
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face shields in boxes

As the U.S. and the world take on the challenge of combating the novel coronavirus, General Atomics (GA) and its affiliates are leveraging their expertise in manufacturing and innovation to meet the urgent needs of our communities.

At GA facilities in San Diego and across the country, test kit development, 3D printing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and ventilator component manufacturing are underway to assist in the fight against COVID-19 at a local, state and national level.

 

  • GA, Diazyme is offering a COVID-19 Antibody test from blood draws (serum or plasma). Under the FDA’s policy for Public Health Emergency for COVID-19, Diazyme utilized the notification process as outlined in Section IVD of the policy and is now listed on the FDA’s FAQ site dedicated to serological (Antibody) testing. The Diazyme’s sensitive test is run on a fully-automated Diazyme DZ-Lite 3000 chemiluminescence analyzer. Diazyme is already working with multiple clinical laboratories around the country, including the UCSD Medical Center to perform these serological tests. Serological tests are not for sole diagnosis of the COVID-19 disease but are valuable in understanding community spread of the disease.
  • Diazyme has also notified the FDA of a rapid COVID-19 Antibody test. This point-of-care test requires only a single drop of blood and provides results within 10-15 minutes. Rapid tests tend to be less sensitive than the lab run tests but are easy to use and can be performed at the point-of-care (doctor’s office, community clinics) and is useful in identifying people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, as well as those who have already recovered, but were unaware that they had been infected.
  • More information about Diazyme’s tests including regulatory statutory statements can be found at http://www.diazyme.com/dz-lite-sars-cov-2
  • GA, Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) group is pursuing component manufacturing and integration services to help scale up production of ventilators. With extensive manufacturing facilities located across the U.S., GA-EMS provides a convenient, US-sourced option to help companies rapidly increase their production capacity to meet the high demand for critical medical equipment. GA-EMS has also tested their first generation mechanized bag valve mask. The system would fit into a backpack and could replace human interaction with the bag enabling more controlled and repeatable tides for infants, children and adults.
  • GA-EMS, GA-Energy group, and GA-ASI adapted their prototyping and production capacities to produce 3D-printed face shields to meet local demand for PPE. Since late March, the joint team has manufactured and shipped over 5,000 face shields in the greater San Diego area and across the nation.
  • GA-EMS is accelerating the development schedule of its MATCHBOX™ Point-of-Care molecular diagnostic platform responding to the growing need for COVID-19 testing. MATCHBOX is expected to have the capability to test and diagnose for a wide range of known respiratory infections, including COVID-19, within 30-60 minutes using a single patient sample using a portable point-of-care instrument.

“The health, safety and well-being of our employees and our communities at large is a top priority for GA,” said Neal Blue, GA Chairman and CEO. “GA has been delivering solutions in support of public health for decades, and with so many in need during this unprecedented time, we have concentrated our collective efforts to address the current pandemic. I salute colleagues as they continue to innovate and look for creative solutions to the current crisis.”

About General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems

General Atomics pioneers in the development of transformational technologies. Since the dawn of the atomic age, GA’s innovations have advanced the state of the art across the full spectrum of science and technology – from nuclear energy and defense to medicine and high-performance computing. Behind a talented global team of scientists, engineers, and professionals, GA delivers safe, sustainable, and economical solutions to meet growing global demands. www.ga.com.

DISM BLM

Thank you essential workers

thank you essential workers
 
*Please be sure to check event websites for latest updates on postponements or cancellations due to COVID-19 precautions.