Monday, March 2, 2020

American Physical Society cancels its meeting 34 hours before start due to COVID-19

Citing the growing threat of the coronavirus, the American Physical Society (APS), the 55,000 member professional society for physicists and researchers in associated fields, cancelled its largest meeting of the year just 34 hours before it was supposed to begin. APS’s March Meeting was to be held this week at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, and the society anticipated more than 10,000 people from all over the world would attend. However, late yesterday, APS issued a statement abruptly calling off the meeting. 
“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 virus is circulating and for which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised people to avoid non-essential travel, the APS statement says. “[T]his decision was made out of deep concern for the health and well-being of our registrants, staff, vendors, and the Denver community.”
Best wishes to all involved, including the people who had been traveling internationally to get to Denver. In related news, the latest statement from the American Chemical Society is as follows:
ACS is closely monitoring the evolving situation related to COVID-19. At present, #ACSPhilly is on schedule. We encourage people to check for our official statement on current meeting plans. (1/2) 
Any updates or changes will be sent to registered #ACSPhilly attendees as well as posted on the homepage (2/2)
You gotta feel bad for anyone who's sitting on the Committee for Meetings and Expositions for ACS - making this kind of call is no fun. 


  1. That was pretty obnoxious of them. Money losses for a last-minute cancelled business trip are a cost of doing business, but a lot of people have an annual budget for conference attendance, and might not get to pick another one this year if the budget got burned up paying for flights and hotels that couldn't be cancelled on such short notice. I suspect a lot of attendees who had planned to combine the conference with a few days of doing touristy stuff in Denver are going to be stuck losing their own money.

    1. I think their intention is good, the last thing we need is to throw open Denver's doors to a potential influx of virus. However, doing this at the zero hour may be too late - if many of the would-be attendees still make use of their plane tickets. I think the fact that some people may miss out on a conference this year is the absolute least of our worries.

    2. I strongly suspect this is going to be like Africanized bees, Y2K, and everything else that was supposed to kill us all.

    3. @KT: Coronavirus will be more like chloroflurocarbons. They would have killed us all, had countermeasures not been taken.

    4. I understand that there is a tendency for media to blow these things out of proportion. But the fact of the matter is now the mortality rate is reported to be as high as 3.4% and seemingly increasing, the outbreak is spreading fairly rapidly and reaching all corners of the globe, and we have no reason to believe this will not become a seasonal virus hereafter. This is quite a bit more of a significant threat than Y2K or Africanized bees were, although no one is suggesting it will kill us all - but certainly has the potential to kill the more vulnerable of the population. There are over 3000 people dead... and you are pitying the people are missing out on spending 4 days looking at posters and nodding off in lectures.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20