City of Austin cancels SXSW amid overblown coronavirus fears

The viral pandemic of the Coronavirus has shook the country to its core as of recently. Being only a small outbreak in China initially and receiving little traction on social media, the virus has drawn much alarming attention as outbreaks in the U.S. have increased over time.

COVID-19 is passed through skin contact, kissing someone who is sick, or indirect contact transmission and although there are still many unknown factors about the virus, it is deemed contagious. Articles regarding information about the virus state that it is difficult to detect it just through a physical exam because the symptoms resemble a bad cold, creating an uproar of confusion across the country.

Since the talk of the virus has increased, constantly being discussed on major news outlets and social media, people are frightened as the news rely on scare-tactics to inform the public. As fear of the virus surges, huge events are beginning to get cancelled and/or the discussion to cancel has been a major topic.

One of the events is SXSW, right here in Austin.

After a Twitter petition to cancel SXSW received over 50,000 signatures, major companies and speakers such as the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, cancelled plans to speak at SXSW. 

This gave Austin the final judgement in determining to cancel the event altogether despite the fact that SXSW has been held in Austin for over thirty years, bringing in hundreds of thousands of entertainment lovers. 

Virus scares aren’t new; they’ve happened several times in recent U.S. history. H1N1 and the Ebola virus caused panic much like this, yet for the most part, people went about their day, not letting fear overcome daily activities and enjoying life.

More times than not, Americans let fear-based media dictate their lives. Fear-based news stories prey on the anxieties we have then hold it against us. During this coronavirus pandemic, there have been very little news stories that have told us not to panic, to remain calm and understand that the U.S. death rates are actually not very high. Instead, we are reminded every day about the virus, essentially taking over our lives.

Unfortunately,  as a result of the constant alarming news, it has found its way into cancelling an event that is highly anticipated and enjoyed across the country. 

Yes, we should be cautious, watch for symptoms and wash our hands thoroughly. However, let’s not let it dictate how we live our lives, causing us to live in fear and preventing us from living life to the fullest.