ORLANDO, Fla. - The 2020 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition in Orlando has been canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump was expected to be a speaker at the event.
“We recognize all the hard work that so many have put into preparing for their presentations and panels that accompany every HIMSS conference,” said Hal Wolf, president and CEO of HIMSS. “Based on evaluation of evolving circumstances and coordination with an external advisory panel of medical professionals to support evidence-based decision making, it is clear that it would be an unacceptable risk to bring so many thousands of people together in Orlando next week.”
The event was to take place March 9-13 at the Orange County Convention Center.
According to a press release, the potential reach of the coronavirus changed significantly enough in the last 24 hours that is was impossible to accurately assess risk.
"Additionally, there are concerns about disproportionate risk to the healthcare system given the unique medical profile of Global Conference attendees and the consequences of potentially displacing healthcare workers during a critical time, as well as stressing the local health systems were there to be an adverse event," HIMSS said in the release.
This will be the first time in 58 years the event has been canceled.
HIMSS says the cancellation is unavoidable "in order to meet HIMSS’ obligation to protect the health and safety of the global HIMSS community, employees and local residents, as well as for the healthcare providers tasked with keeping our U.S. and global communities healthy."
Several companies had announced that they were dropping out of the conference. For example, Amazon, Salesforce, Intel, and Cisco had all announced their withdrawal.
Several other speakers, like former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez, were also expected to be in attendance.