International Neurosurgery Activity after 2020- Silver Linings from the Covid-19 Pandemic & Lessons from the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS)
Every cloud has a silver lining,” and indeed, every crisis provides opportunities for learning lessons and changing tactics. Nobody could have foreseen what happened because of the Covid-19 disease, from the unfolding outbreak stages to the epidemic, and now a global pandemic; second and possibly third waves into 2021, and 2 million deaths and 98 million confirmed infections globally as of 25th January 2021. The European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) canceled all major on-site activities in 2020; This included all three cycles of our flagship event, the residential Training Courses for Residents in Neurosurgery, as well as various hands-on courses (table 1). However, amidst the chaos, suffering, and lockdown, and the uncertainties of traveling, hotel availabilities, and quarantines, the opportunity arose to convert some events to an online version. Several organizations and societies acted along the same lines, and there has been an explosion of webinars and videoconferencing on a variety of platforms.
The EANS organized two important events online. The first was the “7th Annual EANS Vascular Section Meeting” (7-8th September 2020). A small-scale event previously (68 in-person attendees) was converted to a large-scale one with 1090 registrations and 409 attendees. Even though not everyone who registered attended, this still represented a 600% increase. There was also a 389% increase in the assistance countries from 19 in 2019 to 74 in 2020, surpassing all expectations (figure 1).