The world is currently in crisis mode due to the coronavirus pandemic. The disease, also known as COVID-19, started in China and has rapidly spread through the world. Though worthy of concern, misinformation is escalating panic, when there are legitimate and medically backed ways to deal with the outbreak. Unfortunately, that means the cancellation of events that draw large crowds. SXSW is officially canceled, Emerald City Comic-Con is postponed, and the future of San Diego Comic-Con is up in the air.
An Update on SXSW 2020. Please read our full statement here: https://t.co/P56nF8KFmE pic.twitter.com/ouJPKM9GNy— SXSW (@sxsw) March 6, 2020
After many hours of conversation internally & consultation with local government officials and the tourism bureau, we have decided to move next week’s Emerald City Comic Con to Summer 2020 with date & detail announcement forthcoming. Read more at https://t.co/ahL1TOmHLF #ECCC2020 pic.twitter.com/qq3ZnDPXWb— Emerald City Comic Con (@emeraldcitycon) March 6, 2020
The New York premiere of the DC animated movie Superman: Red Son was also recently canceled due to the potential threat of the virus, along with the London press event for the European launch of Disney+. Tourist attractions like the Louvre in Paris, as well as Universal Studios Japan and Tokyo Disneyland, are also temporarily shuttering. Additionally, many sporting events are canceled or enforcing audience restrictions, St. Patrick’s Day parades around the world are holding off, schools and conferences are shutting down, and even game shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune will film without a live studio audience.
Oh, and the entire country of Italy is temporarily quarantined, the first time in history an entire country has made such a move to prevent the spread of disease.
Depending on how the coronavirus pandemic shakes out, several major events are at risk of being postponed or outright canceled. The future of the summer Olympics is in question, and local gatherings like WonderCon–which happens next month and is still on for now–and San Diego Comic-Con could be affected.
If you’re planning to attend any of these events and are concerned about a possible outbreak, here are some quick facts about the virus to keep in mind, as well as ways to keep yourself safe and warning signs to look out for:
• According to the Center for Disease Control, common symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and cold/flu-like symptoms.
• If you have a pre-existing condition, it’s important to stay home.
• If you are exhibiting symptoms or have traveled to a place with an outbreak, you should also stay home. Do not risk the health of others.
• Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly is a great way of preventing the spread of the disease. Make sure you wash for a minimum of 15 to 20 seconds.
• Avoid touching your face as much as possible. Mucus membranes are an easy way to contract the coronavirus.
• You should also avoid unnecessary contact with people. (Handshakes, hugs, etc.)
• If you cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue and promptly discard it, then immediately wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
• Don’t share bottles or food with anyone.
The most important thing to do is check in with yourself. If you’re feeling ill in any way prior to an event, don’t risk exposing yourself to more germs or spreading your own. Conventions are fun, but they aren’t worth contracting a preventable disease like the coronavirus. You can always see your favorite celebrities or buy new merchandise at a later date.
Also, don’t panic! The disease only has a 2.3% mortality rate, and mainly effects the elderly. It’s important to keep those most sensitive safe, which means limiting exposure to the virus, but fear and worry isn’t the way to survive a pandemic. Precaution, education, and simple practices will protect us best.
Featured Image: NIAID-RML via Flickr