The current coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak hasn’t hit the U.S. in full force just yet, but the pandemic has already claimed at least 2,858 lives worldwide, out of a reported 83,300+ cases in 32 countries. There are currently 60 reported cases in the U.S., most of which were contracted by people who have traveled to Asia in recent months or have been in contact with those that have. (via CNN) This summer’s Olympics were supposed to be held in Tokyo, but increasingly it looks as though they will have to be canceled.
The director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, stated:
“It’s not so much of a question of if this will [spread in the U.S.] anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when.”
And here in the States, things are starting to look shaky for one of the biggest pop culture events of the year– San Diego Comic-Con International.
The gathering is scheduled to take place on July 23-26. Last year, approximately 135,000 people attended, and the event generated roughly $149 million for the city, not only from the con itself, but hotels, restaurants, etc.
But if you have ever been to SDCC or any other large con, you know people are herded like cattle, shoulder-to-shoulder, front-to-back, and since we’re talking about diseases, let’s just be real and admit that a large chunk of those folks are NOT very sanitary and don’t spend much time on basic hygiene. Not only do fans need to be careful, but so do the professionals and celebrities that attend. The major studios are monitoring the situation and if things get worse, don’t be surprised if some of the studios pull out of their scheduled presentations.
An SDCC rep stated (via TV Line) :
“Comic-Con is working with local officials as it pertains to the COVID-19 situation and continues to monitor developments closely.”
An unnamed executive at a major studio added:
“There’s obviously concern. For now, we’re taking a wait-and-see approach.”
Another exec stated:
“It’d be irresponsible for us to not be thinking about it. But it’s too soon to press the panic button.”
Recently, the Mobile World Congress phone show, which was expected to draw 100,000+ people to Barcelona, Spain, was canceled due to “the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak.” Sony pulled out of this weekend’s Pax East in Boston, which normally draws 50,000 people. (The event itself is carrying on as planned.) AnimeJapan 2020, previously set for March 21-25, has been canceled. San Francisco’s Game Developers Conference 2020, set for March 16-18, will carry on, despite the city’s mayor, London Breed, declaring a state of emergency. However, PlayStation, Microsoft, Epic Games, Electronic Arts, and other companies have pulled out.
Is this an overreaction? Have you ever attended a large con and gotten sick when it was all over? YES. We all have. Those places are gross under normal circumstances. Imagine the celebrities who have to shake all those hands or pose with their arms around any rando with $100! (Also, think about all the random hookups! Girl, you don’t know where that Deadpool has been!)
Of course, this is still the early days when it comes to the Covid-19 epidemic. Things could be very different in July. (Hopefully!)
At this time, there is starting to be some financial impact on the entertainment world. Global movie ticket sales are down dramatically, particularly in China, where theaters are closed and the nation’s New Year celebration was canceled. China is the world’s second-largest market for American movies, so Hollywood is feeling that crunch. Attendance is also down in Japan. To the west, the next ‘Mission: Impossible’ movie has halted production in Italy due to concerns. And even outside of the world of entertainment, the stock market is being negatively impacted.
What do you think? Is the Covid-19 coronavirus impacting your upcoming summer plans? Or is this too early to worry about that?