SXSW canceled over coronavirus, Austin mayor declares ‘local disaster’

SXSW canceled. Image: coronavirusAustin, Texas mayor Steve Adler has just declared “a local disaster” and “effectively” canceled South By Southwest (SXSW) amid the COVID-19coronavirus outbreak.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said he had declared a local disaster and “together with that I have issued an order that effectively cancels South by Southwest this year.”

The festival was to have been held March 13-22. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Austin.

The move comes after dozens of companies, including Apple, Amazon, TikTok, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and others have pulled out of the festival as the viral illness spreads and many are wary large gatherings pose a health risk.

MacDailyNews Take: With SXSW the latest mass gathering to be canceled, Apple still has time to decide on June’s WWDC 2020, but it’s running short.


  1. It would be hard to overstate just how big an impact on the local economy this represents. Imagine $350 million pulled out of your town on one week’s warning. The US Grand Prix is only a month off. To the extent that other public events are cancelled, the self-styled Live Music Capital of America will be devastated.

    Covid-19 is not fake news.

      1. Kent, Covid-19 isn’t flu. It is a completely different disease from a different family of viruses. It has not had less impact than flu in the hotspot locations. It has killed from 2-5% of diagnosed patients. It appears to be more easily transmitted than flu.

        It has had less overall impact so far only because the pandemic is still growing. It isn’t the end of the world, but it isn’t the sort of thing you want to take to work with you, presidential advice to the contrary notwithstanding.

        1. From NBC news today.

          “”The best estimates now of the overall mortality rate for COVID-19 is somewhere between 0.1% and 1%,” Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at HHS, says. “That’s lower than you heard probably in many reports … it’s not likely in the range of 2 to 3%”

          — NBC News (@NBCNews) March 6, 2020

          So, you are only wrong by a factor of between 5 and 50.

        2. Apples and oranges. The mortality rate is probably 1.0% or less if you include everybody who catches the disease. I said 2 to 4% of diagnosed cases. We honestly have no idea how many undiagnosed cases there are out there. I don’t know about you, but if I thought I had a 1 in 50 chance of dying once I developed a bad cough, I would consider it serious.

        3. “Apples and oranges”. What a jerk. You give a mortality rate that doesn’t include everyone who gets it. The fact that most people that get it don’t report supports the idea that it is very mild and much like the flu. It is killing people who are very old and have other illnesses that contribute. Many of the deaths are in nursing homes. AIDS and STDs have a high correlation in populations who have sex with many partners. I think SXSW should be canceled because it promotes the spread of AIDS and STDs. Are you scared?

        4. By the way, President Trump restricted travel from China in January against the very vocal criticism of the Democrat Party and the New York Times which called him racist/xenophobic for keeping people out out the US who had been in the Wuhan area. So, the opinion of idiots notwithstanding, Trump has kept the spread in the US well below levels in other countries. Which is good for this new version of the flu.

        5. Nobody complained because President Trump banned foreign travel from the affected region. They complained because he banned anybody who had set foot in China, even if they had just transferred through an airport in an unaffected part of the country. That was contrary to advice from the WHO and CDC. A more targeted quarantine would have been equally effective and much less disruptive.

          The spread in the US is below levels in other countries because we are much earlier in the infection cycle. It may stay that way, but I would not bet on it. You can not dismiss the impact on Austin as minor. The coverage on local TV has the shocked tone of a city hit by a $350 million tornado.

        6. MDN mods should step in here. Kent is a public health hazard spreading misinformation.
          Covid 19 …IS NOT FLU!
          It’s the latest and forth Coronavirus strain originating from Pangolins. Everything that is known about seasonal flu, is as yet unknown about Covid 19. It seems to be able to ‘cloak’ itself to avoid the body’s responses for much longer than the influenza virus which means a much more dangerous infection period. And that means tracing patient zero for each localised outbreak is even harder. There are multiple infection routes as yet unexplained.
          It is serious.
          All this from my doctor daughter, a specialist in intensive care.
          I’ve given up continental greetings and handshakes for the rest of the year, along with cinemas, air travel, crowded spaces with little ventilation, face to face business meetings and so on. Will I still be affected? Yes. Even in the best case scenario, I am likely to be exposed to infection by at least 10% of our workforce and vice versa. Living in a rural area means more travel and thus more exposure. It’s unavoidable so anything we can do to slow the infection rate is absolutely in everyone’s best interests.

        7. So far, during this flu season, the “flu” has killed somewhere between 25,000 and 50,000 in the US. The Corona Virus has killed 11, with fewer than 200 total known cases.

        8. Your number of 11/200 is a mortality rate of 5.5%. Seasonal flu is about 0.1%. Covid-19 appears to be more contagious than flu, so it can potentially spread faster and affect more patients in a single outbreak. Again, this is not a trivial problem. Even if it were no worse than seasonal flu, an unchecked epidemic could kill an additional 50,000 Americans. That isn’t trivial, either.

        9. 11 people have died of a new flu variant. Misty in nursing homes. This is an invention to give urban misfits and millennials something to whine about. It is nothing.

      2. “Same result.”

        When did you get your coronavirus shot Kent?

        No, the results are not the same. TXuser already told you one impact from one event. Insensitivity and selective hearing on your part doesn’t negate the reality of this new, different situation. Trillions of dollars in lost business has already occurred worldwide, not to mention the death count.

        Why don’t you go back to bragging about your QE and debt fueled 401k account balance, Maga Maga. Oh wait. Orange Monkey says everything is great if we simply dig a bigger debt hole to fund more corporate socialist welfare to keep Wall Street overinflated.

        Turns out Covid 19 has a sharp point that busts balloons. Annual flu outbreaks in comparison are managed and affordable flu shots made available to mitigate the effects for immunodeficient public. Even magats should understand the difference.

        1. Corona Virus has killed 11 versus around 40,000 for the flu. You avoid Corona Virus just like the flu by washing your hands and staying away from sick people. The flu has a season, which ends soon. Same with the Corona Virus. China, reports things are returning to normal. Tim Cook concurs. So, it will end with a very few deaths. You are are a person of very limited intelligence. My guess, you vote Democrat/Socialist/Communist.

        2. How do you know that Covid-19 is seasonal like the flu? It might be, but it is from a different family of viruses. It has been spreading in Singapore about as fast as in the US, despite the weather and climatology on the island at this time of year being comparable to early summer in most of North America. Rational people hope for the best, but they prepare for the worst case possible.

  2. . . . Read this story to see how disorganized the governments and hospitals response to Corona Virus has been in Los Angeles . . . basically 3 people returned to LAX airport with the Corona Virus. They told 2 of them to “shelter in place” at a home, and one of them was put in a local hospital. According to the news story, the mother of the hospital patient was told that a doctor didn’t want him there because he posed a health risk to the staff . . . . so let’s get this straight, LA has ONE person in the hospital and the hospital apparently does not know how to deal with it. What happens when there are 10 people or 100 people in the hospital? . . . Also, where is the CDC? When a news story like this comes out, which suggests questionable communication by the hospital staff, a CDC representative needs to speak out, and clarify the policy of how corona virus patients are being treated in this and other hospitals . . . Up to this point, we have seen potential Corona Virus patients being quarantined in military bases . . . Now in L.A., a city of 10 million people, we have 2 guys who are verified as being infected, and they are self-quarantining at their house (we don’t know how thoroughly they’re being monitored), and 1 other guy who the hospital has threatened to release because the staff doesn’t feel safe.

    1. Are you keeping track of the people with AIDS? Do you quarantine them? Washington State just made it a misdemeanor to knowingly have AIDS and infect another who is not aware of your AIDS? Which sickness will end up with a greater death toll – AIDS or Corona Virus? Why do you want Corona Virus people tracked when AIDS and STD carriers are not tracked?

      1. AIDS and STD carriers are tracked in most jurisdictions. A diagnosis is followed up by a visit from a contact-tracer working for the local public health authority. Each listed contact is then visited for testing and to list their contacts, and so forth. That’s the way that every serious communicable disease is handled. Covid-19 is being handled exactly the same way..

        1. If it were, I could sue my neighbor for asking, “Howdy. How you doing?”

          No, it is not a search. Nor is it mandatory self-incrimination because there are no criminal penalties depending on the answer.

          Protecting public health obviously is reasonable. You are not obligated to answer, but if you don’t, the public health authority can get a court order placing you in quarantine. The community is not required to let mad dogs run free. Look up, “Typhoid Mary.”

        2. You’ve fully answered by saying it’s not mandatory, but a government or other body knowing something personal like that, without consent, and without trial, is already too far.

          Of course it’s a search.

        3. No. In fact, questioning or interrogation is never a search, although coersively holding somebody for questioning would be a seizure.

          Yes, they had a court order to hold Typhoid Mary, obtained after a hearing and what passed at the time as due process.

  3. Most of the scheduled events for the next month on the world professional road cycling circuit have also been cancelled. So, too, this year’s Skiing World Cup and the Women’s Ice Hockey World Cup. It will be interesting to see what happens to the scheduled Grand Prix events and the various national championships that serve as Olympic qualifiers.

    To repeat, Covid-19 is not an event with the economic impact of seasonal flu. Most airlines are drastically cutting their schedules, with the largest European regional airline Flybe going out of business completely. All the billion-dollar cruise ships built in the last decade are going to be out of service shortly. All the schools and colleges in Italy are shut down, as are the Muslim holy places in the Mideast. Hotels in Venice are running at 1-2% of capacity. Chinese restaurants in places with no cases at all have 80% less business. Dock workers on the US West Coast are largely idled. Austin is taking a $356 million hit, and that does not include the impact on SXSW participants, promoters, and performers from out of town.

    Nobody would endure this kind of pain just to make the President look bad.

  4. Astonishing, absolutely astounding denial and deceptive almost cruel disregard for both the seriousness of Covid 19 and regard for the health of others.
    I fear the US might have missed the opportunity to flatten the curve of the outbreak. Which unfortunately means disruption of all aspects of life. I hope I am wrong but have they learned nothing from the unfolding drama in the Far East? From the onboard Diamond Princess quarantine that became a festering infection and ré infection nightmare? That only prompt strong and meaningful restrictions have enabled China to severely reduce its spread and mortality rate?
    Here in the UK there is a possibility of 20% of the working population either ill or in self quarantine for a period of 3 months IF they manage to flatten the infection curve enough. And that’s a realistic scenario the government here say will not overwhelm the NHS but will inevitably mean “daily life will be impacted by serious and long lasting disruption”
    It does not take much imagination to see how this will affect everything and everybody…surely?

    1. Stupid and more Stupid the end isn’t eminent the latest coronavirus is part of a family of viruses that have been around long before the dawn of modern humans. REAL DEATH WAS THE NUMBER OF NATIVE AMERICANS WHO DIED AFTER FIRST CONTACT.

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