Three months out from the event, it has already been canceled—with good reason
On Friday afternoon it was announced that this year's San Diego Comic-Con, scheduled for July 23-26, had been canceled.
The world-famous event has been held annually for the last 50 years and draws more than 130,000 attendants to the San Diego Convention Center to meet their favorite celebrities and artists and show off their elaborate cosplay. No doubt a lot of people were already looking forward to events like this, with the expectation that life will be returning to normal this summer. So why—with New York beginning to move past the worst phase of the pandemic, and Donald Trump already pushing for various states to be "liberated"—is Comic-Con being canceled more than three months in advance?
The short answer is that there was no sense in putting it off. It would have had to be canceled eventually, and it would have been cruel to let so many fans of comic books, sci-fi, and fantasy put together their elaborate costumes and work up their nerd glands into a lather only to be disappointed by a last-minute cancellation. Worse still to let it become another event that is repeatedly postponed before finally being called off. Better to be realistic. While we think about concepts like "reopening the country" with some optimism, and we should look forward to some of the current restrictions on our lives being relaxed in the coming months, it's going to be a long time before anything on the scale of Comic-Con will be possible.
For a start, different parts of the country are going to be hit by the coronavirus at different times. We're likely to see multiple waves of infection that will need to be met by multiple recurrences of quarantine orders. There's no telling what southern California's situation will be like in July, not to mention the places attendees would be traveling from. And even as society tentatively returns to normal, some restrictions will have to stay in place for movie theaters, concerts, and sporting events—let alone huge conventions. If even one person is asymptomatic and spreads the virus in a crowded event, it could lead to dozens or hundreds of new cases, and a ripple effect that would be impossible to contain.
Now fill that crowd with people from all over the country, bringing with them pockets of infection that have yet to even be detected. On top of all that, there is reason to expect that infection rates that recede during the summer months will come back with a vengeance in the fall—meaning that any minor spread that persists during the summer could be magnified to catastrophic proportions when the weather turns cold.
No, the long incubation period, rapid spread, and significant lethality of COVID-19 add up to the essential fact that we will have to avoid large gatherings until an effective vaccine is developed and widely available. Despite what you may have heard about certain unproven drugs from certain unhinged world leaders, we are still far from having anything like that. It is likely to be several months—if not a full year—before researchers can synthesize a safe and effective vaccine, and then it will be some months more before enough can be manufactured to immunize the country.
Until that time, Comic-Cons, Coachellas, and all manner of major events will need to be canceled. Better to tear off the band-aid now than continue to fool ourselves by listening to our delusional president and dreaming of a summer full of cosplay fun.
The good news is, as long as you're stuck inside, no one can stop you from dressing up like a sexy steam-punk Pikachu all day, every day.
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