Seeing a lot of reader activity on my post Monday about ISE and the possible ramifications of the coronavirus outbreak in central China.
I have been checking the ISE site and social feeds and seen no official comment on the situation, but there are outright calls being made to ask Chinese-based companies NOT to send their people over to Amsterdam, over fears the virus in incubation stage may travel with them and then come out in coughs and sniffles among some 80,000 trade show attendees.
Opinions, from what I have read and heard in broadcasts, are all over the place with respect to the severity of this. Some say it is over-blown and the public should be more concerned with influenza. Others say China is soft-peddling something that’s far worse than being reported.
Dunno. Taking government spokespeople at their words is naive, particularly these days, but relying solely on social media for “news” is equally silly.
There is this: Worldwide, the flu causes up to five million cases of severe illness worldwide and kills up to 650,000 people every year, according to the World Health Organization.
People citing those stats say this coronavirus, by comparison, barely registers – though tell that to the families of those who’ve died or ended up in hospital.
What I do know is STRATACACHE – which would be at ISE with a couple of stands for Scala and X2O – is now evaluating whether it sends people to Amsterdam, or not. CEO Chris Riegel says it may not be worth the health risk, and hopes to have a better go/no go stance by Thursday. I suspect that is not the only company having a think about its plans.
The Dayton, OH-based company has already has closed operations in China until at least Feb. 17. It has more than 300 employees in Ningbo, about two hours south of Shanghai.
I suspect ISE will have to make some sort of statement about how it is handling this. Asking companies not to come seems a bit much, but on the flip side, Don’t Worry, Be Happy or Nothing To See Here stances probably won’t go over well.
Logic suggests that if you are healthy and tend to shrug off bugs when they hit, you’d be fine if you do all the usual cautionary stuff. If you are older and/or immune-compromised, then staying home would be prudent.
Stay tuned …
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.