Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) will have a bit more free time on his hands now that the coronavirus disease known as COVID-19 has shut down South By Southwest, also known as SXSW, a wildly successful film and music industry conference-slash-festival.
According to Roll Call, Austin, Texas was set to kick off the event in mid-March, but concerns about coronavirus motivated the city to cancel the event, leaving many lawmakers like Adam Schiff scrambling to change plans.
Other major festivals and gatherings planned for the coming weeks and months are likely to follow suit and be canceled as well.
The latest news about SXSW comes after it was revealed that an attendee of the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) tested positive for the coronavirus, exposing several members of congress — and even possibly the president — to the virus, according to MSN.
Schiff had been scheduled to speak at SXSW in a series entitled “Conversations About America’s Future.” He was going to appear alongside failed presidential candidates Beto O’Rouke and Hillary Clinton to discuss the upcoming election.
“The 2020 election is the most important election of our generation, and at SXSW our goal is to address the issues that affect the lives of all citizens. We’re fortunate to have a young, diverse and engaged audience looking for solutions to the complex problems that face the next generation,” said Hugh Forrest, the festival’s chief programming officer, prior to the cancellation.
The cancellation of large public events will have a significant effect on local economies, and the economic disruption from the virus is mounting worldwide, as predicted, according to The Hill.
SXSW was expected to draw 400,000 visitors and run from March 13 to March 22, according to TechCrunch. The event’s organizers are exploring the possibility of rescheduling the massive festival.
The coronavirus has spread to various parts of the United States, and the last thing people should be doing is gathering en masse, especially at events known to attract attendees from all corners of the country and the world.
In this for the long haul
Americans should prepare for the effects of the coronavirus to have a noticeable impact on the country for the next couple of months. California has announced that K-12 schools should prepare for the possibility of coronavirus-related closures, according to EdSource.org, and other educational institutions are beginning to take steps to combat virus exposure.
A state of emergency was declared by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on March 4 after an elderly patient in the state died from the virus. New York, Washington, Florida, Oregon, Utah, Maryland, and Kentucky soon followed suit, according to Newsweek, and other states are sure to jump on the bandwagon and make emergency declarations of their own.
We can expect to see further disruptions as the coronavirus infections continue to spread throughout the country.