Coronavirus and Meetings
to see Northstar Meetings Group's comprehensive and continuing coverage of how coronavirus is affecting meetings.
The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, has canceled its ACS Spring 2020 National Meeting and Expo, originally scheduled to take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from March 20-26. The annual meeting, which has taken place for the past 100 years without cancellation, was expected to draw 15,000 visitors to the City of Brotherly Love.
The rapid expansion of COVID-19 around the world and in the United States resulted in ACS's decision. While no Philadelphia-based cases of coronavirus have been confirmed as of yet, there are now eight confirmed cases in neighboring Montgomery County, bringing Pennsylvania's total number of confirmed cases to 11.
"Safety is a core value of the American Chemical Society and as such the health and well-being of our members, staff and the public is paramount," said Kate Fryer, executive vice president for ACS membership and society services. "For that reason, ACS has decided that it is inadvisable, and impractical, to hold the ACS Spring 2020 National Meeting & Expo and it has therefore terminated it in light of our growing safety concerns for our attendees and the city of Philadelphia."
According to the Philadelphia Meeting Termination FAQ on the ACS site, the decision was based on several factors, including:
- The governor of Pennsylvania signing an emergency disaster declaration
- Several COVID-19 cases being reported in the greater Philadelphia area
- Input from Philadelphia city officials and continued review of CDC recommendation
- Input from ACS members who were increasingly concerned with travel and the large gathering
- Watching the expanding trajectory of the virus, using tools such as the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering COVID-19 tracking tool
ACS said it will be issuing full refunds to all registrants and is working to provide alternate means for presenters to share their research. The organization's next National Meeting is scheduled to take place Aug. 16-20, 2020, in San Fransisco.
The ACS meeting is among many major conferences that have been canceled or postponed in recent weeks. In Philadelphia alone, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology canceled its annual meeting of about 6,500 people, and the University of Pennsylvania also canceled its annual Penn Wharton China Summit, where average attendance is 1,500.
The number of confirmed global coronavirus cases has surpassed 100,000. The outbreak, which began in Wuhan, China in late December, has spread to more than 100 countries and claimed more than 3,500 lives, according to the latest situation report from the World Health Organization.
The Northstar Meetings Group team is dedicated to keeping the meetings industry abreast with the latest updates surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here for a frequently updated list of events that have been either confirmed to happen, canceled or postponed.