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San Diego Comic-Con: Is It Cancelled Yet? [Update]

With most major events cancelling the past couple of months, SDCC had been a holdout until now.

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Update: San Diego Comic-Con has officially been canceled. The organizers behind SDCC announced the news on April 17, saying it will not take place in 2020. Instead, it will return next year, taking place July 22-25, 2021.

"Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, they had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer," they said in a statement. "Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year."

Original story: Although there have been a lot of rumors saying Comic-Con will be cancelled any day now, SDCC is still happening. The annual pop culture convention is planned to take place in San Diego's Gaslamp district between July 23-26, even though there is a social distance order in effect and many people are shelter in place around the world as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The bigger question is "why hasn't Comic-Con been cancelled?"

For those who have ever been to Comic-Con before, staying at least six feet away from someone else is a near impossibility. There is nowhere in the convention area where that is an easily achievable feat--unless you jump in the water. Comic Con International has stated that it is "monitoring the situation," as they remain hopeful that the show can go on.

That seems like a bizarre response considering what's going on in the country right now. Comic-Con, if it is going to happen, is three months away, and America is about a month into social distancing--and three months after the first case appeared in the country. While most of us are clamoring to get back out into the public, hang out with our friends, eat at restaurants, and have a drink at the bar, we have a ways to go.

Sure, you can remain hopeful that SDCC is going to happen, but why state that you are monitoring the situation? Even if today would be the peak of coronavirus infections--which is nearing 600,000 infections in the US--is it really smart to bring in over one hundred thousand people from around the world to cram the Gaslamp District and San Diego Convention Center for three days? (It is not.)

Undoubtedly, SDCC brings in a large amount of money to the local economy. But is that influx of money more important than the possibility of creating yet another pandemic along with the possibility of infected people losing their lives? (It is not.)

COVID-19 is unlike any other virus we've seen in the 21st century. It's highly contagious and carriers are asymptomatic (meaning they show no symptoms of infection but can spread it) for days. Additionally, it can be deadly to the elderly and those with lung conditions. These are things you probably already know, but it bears repeating. You can always check out the World Health Organization for more info.

There is a laundry list of events that have been canceled or postponed in 2020 because of the pandemic: SXSW--which is now an Amazon Prime Video event--E3, the Olympics, WonderCon (which is owned by Comic-Con International, the same company as Comic-Con), and many, many others. All of these take place before or after the same time that SDCC is supposed to happen.

Cancelling SDCC is a good thing, but also its cancellation can open up new opportunities. Maybe SDCC can shift to an online event, much like Comic-Con International did with WonderCon recently. Panels could still happen, over the internet--and maybe some people can finally get into a Hall H event. Comic-Con International can find a happy medium here. It can have its event in an online space, make people who wish they were at the show have something to look forward to, and not endanger anyone's health. This is the best solution to this terrifying problem glaring us all in the face.

Mat Elfring on Google+

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