In recent days several very high profile events around the world have either been canceled or postponed. Now with the deadly Coronavirus now being labeled as a pandemic, it appears that nerd gatherings like Anaheim’s Wondercon and San Diego’s Comic-Con 2020 could be next. Or could they?
As of right now, both conventions are still fully on. Comic-Con International released this statement on Tuesday, March 10 to 10News in San Diego:
“Comic-Con is working with local officials as it pertains to the COVID-19 situation and continues to monitor developments closely. At this time both shows, WonderCon Anaheim and Comic-Con in San Diego, are moving forward as scheduled. As always, the safety and security of all our attendees is of utmost importance. Please rest assured that these concerns are being taken very seriously and we will not make any decisions regarding the rescheduling of shows without weighing all considerations carefully.”
Obviously, this is a rapidly developing situation worldwide that could change at any moment, but Comic-Con clearly wants to push through if they can (as evidenced by the fact that they continue tweeting about badges and hotels). WonderCon, which is set for April 10-12, is the first convention on their docket — and will presumably be the first convention they’ll decide whether to continue moving forward with or not.
We know that for many exhibitors and fans, it can feel like everything is getting canceled (as of press time, Emerald City Comic Con, SXSW, Coachella, and E3 are the big conventions/events to be canceled). However, many other events have continued to happen across the US without incident (including C2E2, Supernatural Las Vegas, Wizard World Cleveland, and even the LA Marathon).
While Comic-Con International has not yet communicated directly with fans or exhibitors — the Anaheim Convention Center has. This is what they have announced they are doing to help stop the spread of disease in their convention center:
The Anaheim Convention Center:
- has increased cleaning of door handles, elevator buttons, handrails and other frequently touched surfaces
- has added additional hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the facility
- has put in place signs and other messaging urging everyone to wash their hands and follow other public health best practices
- is coordinating with event organizers on best practices
- The convention center also works closely with Anaheim Fire & Rescue, the city’s fire, medical and emergency first responders, on planning and courses of action should we see coronavirus cases or should the situation in Orange County change.
So how does the situation in Orange County look right now? Currently, there have been three deaths in the entire state of California, and Orange County has reported two confirmed cases of coronavirus and three presumptive (but no deaths, as of publication time). According to the LA Times, “four of the people [in Orange County] contracted the virus through travel-related activities, and one got sick from person-to-person contact with someone who was ill”.
The LA Times also spoke with Orange County’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Nichole Quick, who said, “[T]he flu is a much greater risk than coronavirus. Now, that being said, part of people’s fear related to this is we simply don’t know what this is going to look like. We don’t have wide enough testing to know how many people are infected across the country… Overall risk to residents of Orange County is low.”
Quick also added that the public can lessen the risk by following routine precautions, including washing hands regularly, covering their mouth when sneezing, or coughing and staying home when sick.
Disneyland, which is essentially across the street from WonderCon, also continues to operate as normal.
So far, it appears like the two geeky events are still on but this can change in coming weeks. HipsterZOMBIEJoint Experience will keep you informed as this story develops…