Coronavirus causes major event cancellations
Updated: Mar 20, 2020
The coronavirus is having an increasingly broad effect on organizers of events. Professional sports leagues, international concerts, major conferences, and even smaller public gatherings are being cancelled or delayed due to coronavirus fears.
The NBA announced that it will suspend its season on Wednesday after a player tested positive for the virus. A game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was stopped just before tip-off after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. On Monday, Gobert had joked with reporters about the coronavirus, touching each microphone in front of him.
"The game was canceled out of an abundance of caution," the NBA said.
"It's stunning, but we are where we are," Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. "We have to be smart in how we respond. This is people's lives at stake."
Earlier in the week, the NCAA said that their basketball tournaments would be played without fans in attendance to limit the spread of the virus.
"While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States," NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement.
The Tokyo Olympics are still set to proceed in July, but there have been discussions of possibly holding competitions without spectators.
Austin Texas' annual South by Southwest festival was cancelled after large tech companies withdrew their participation. The festival had been planned to run from March 13 to 22. Festival organizers said they do not have insurance to cover the cancellation from a disease, and that they would be laying off a third of their full-time staff.
Other affected events include the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, E3, and the New York International Auto Show.
The virus is also affecting smaller, more routine public gatherings in addition to the economic damage being done.
Universities are suspending semesters or transferring to online courses. Additional sporting leagues are considering playing without fans or cancelling games altogether, such as the MLB and NHL. Presidential campaigns are cancelling rallies. The latest James Bond film delayed its release from April to November.
The United States currently has more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, and 38 people have died from the infection.