Large Denver physics conference canceled over virus concerns

March 1, 2020 GMT

DENVER (AP) — A physics conference expected to draw 10,000 people to Denver was canceled due to concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The decision to cancel the American Physical Society’s March Meeting was announced Saturday, The Denver Post reports.

The decision drew criticism from some travelers who were already in Denver or en route to the conference scheduled to start Monday.

A statement on the society’s website said the increased risk surrounding the disease spreading across the globe led organizers to cancel the week-long conference at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver.


“The decision to cancel was based on the latest scientific data being reported, and the fact that a large number of attendees at this meeting are coming from outside the U.S., including countries where the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) upgraded its warning to level 3 as recently as Saturday,” the organization said in the statement.

The nonprofit organization headquartered in Maryland works to increase knowledge about physics.

A spokeswoman did not immediately return requests for comment Sunday.

Some people expressed frustrations that the event was canceled 36 hours before its scheduled start, while others applauded the society for canceling in light of increased concerns about COVID-19.

COVID-19 is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.

More than 88,000 people around the globe have been infected, with the virus appearing on every continent but Antarctica.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, runny nose, cough and breathing trouble. Most develop only mild disease. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.