TEXAS — Fear of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is putting large events in the U.S. in jeopardy. On March 6, Austin Mayor Steve Adler declared a state of emergency in Austin, effectively canceling South by Southwest (SXSW).
The respiratory disease caused by coronavirus, first detected in China, has now been detected in dozens of locations internationally, including the U.S.
December 31, 2019: Novel coronavirus begins in China
- World Health Organization (WHO) learned of dozens of people being treated for mysterious pneumonia-like illness in Wuhan, China.
January 11, 2020: First death from novel coronavirus
- China reported its first death from novel coronavirus. The victim was a 61-year-old man.
January 21, 2020: First case of novel coronavirus in the U.S.
- Health officials learned of the first case of novel coronavirus in the U.S. A man in his 30s who visited Wuhan contracted the illness.
January 30, 2020: WHO declares international concern
- The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
January 31, 2020: National public health emergency declared
- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency for the U.S., to aid in the response to novel coronavirus.
February 11, 2020: Health officials give novel coronavirus an official name
- WHO announced the formal name of novel coronavirus as COVID-19.
February 26, 2020: First COVID-19 case of U.S. origin
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said a patient with no history of travel to a country with an outbreak contracted COVID-19. This is suspected to be the first instance of local transmission of COVID-19 in the U.S. Two deaths on this day at a nursing home in Washington State were later recorded as the first COVID-19-related deaths in the U.S.
- Health officials identify a Texas coronavirus case outside a quarantine facility.
- Officials say a woman who was released from quarantine in San Antonio was brought back into isolation after officials discovered she had tested positive for coronavirus. The CDC says the woman had come to San Antonio in February from Wuhan, China, and tested negative twice for the illness before her release.
March 2, 2020: Twitter backs out of SXSW over fear of the spread of coronavirus
- Twitter announced that it is suspending all non-critical business travel including travel to Austin for SXSW.
- More than 120 passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship were set to be released from quarantine in San Antonio, a day after city leaders declared a public health emergency and sought to delay the process so more patient testing could be done.
- A Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business that Facebook and its employees will not be participating in SXSW. Over the next few days a long list of companies and keynote speakers follow suit.
- Austin leaders held a press conference as the fear of the spread of coronavirus intensified. Dr. Mark E. Escott, interim medical director for Austin Public Health, assured those gathered that for the time being, the threat of coronavirus remained low in Austin.
- Austin officials announced that SXSW was canceled, due to potential threats from coronavirus. Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced that he has declared a state of emergency in the city necessitating the cancellation of the massive annual festival.