COVID-19 has dropped off the news, but it still poses a significant risk to long-term health, even among people who have caught it before.
Prevalence in the UK is currently low, around 1 in 50 in London on 16 August 2022. However, at this rate, if we took no precautions we’d expect at least 1 person at a typical meeting to be testing positive.
We therefore propose the following precautions. As usual for DC4420, we have limited ability to enforce them, so this is an honesty system. Please read the following section carefully before attending, and decide if it fits your risk appetite.
If we believe someone is making people feel unsafe, we’ll ask them to leave.
Ensure you’re fully vaccinated. If you’re unvaccinated, or have unvaccinated people in your household, please don’t attend.
Take a lateral flow test on the day of the meeting. If you test positive, don’t attend. You can get tests from Boots and large supermarkets, or in bulk online. We’ll have some free lateral flow tests at the meeting in case you forget.
Be aware of COVID symptoms, which include:
- high temperature
- a continuous cough
- changed sense of smell or taste
- aches and exhaustion
If you have symptoms of COVID, please don’t attend.
Bring a mask (unless you’re exempt) and wear it when you can.
Ideally take a lateral flow test the day before too. The tests aren’t perfect, but two consecutive negative tests are a good indicator that you’re not infectious.
Consider reducing your activity on the weekend before. This is the most likely time to pick up COVID in time to spread it on Tuesday evening.
Finally, if you’re in a high-risk group, or don’t feel confident being in a room with dozens of others, please don’t feel pressured into attending. There will be future DC4420 meetings!
Differences from conference policy
For the conference in Las Vegas, Defcon will mandate masks and has previously removed in-person speaking tracks. This makes sense for an international event with thousands of attendees.
Unfortunately, Defcon doesn’t provide COVID-19 guidance for DC groups, so we have chosen to limit ourselves to national guidance for the following reasons:
- We have a relatively small number of people in the venue at any time
- There’s no cost for an attendee to stay away if they test positive on the day
- Meetings involve eating and drinking, so a mask mandate would be impractical
- As public behaviour changes, there comes a point where attending a meeting will likely not have a significant impact on risk for most Londoners
As a stop-gap, we’ve run some in-person events outdoors at Battersea Park. If you’re not tied to the talks part of DC4420, please join us! These are announced in advance, and details are posted on Twitter on the day.
During the conference, Defcon plans to provide virtual spaces for socialising and remote streaming of talks. Some UK groups (e.g. Worcester) have also been successful doing this.
A large part of DC4420 is the openness that comes from knowing your words aren’t recorded. However, if you’d like to chat about organising an online event, please get in touch.
If you have any concerns or comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org