Verizon, AT&T, and a dozen other technology companies have officially pulled out of the RSA security conference that's set to kick off in San Francisco next week. In all, fourteen companies, including six from China, have opted out of the event due to coronavirus concerns.
As of now, RSA organizers still intend to hold the conference, with more than 40,000 attendees expected to arrive in the Bay Area over the weekend. Nonetheless, RSA could be facing potential cancelation if prominent vendors continue to back out.
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Coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, has significantly disrupted the technology industry and related annual events. GSMA's Mobile World Congress (MWC) was canceled due to coronavirus concerns, DEF CON China has been put on hold, and Facebook recently canceled a large event in San Francisco.
The city of San Francisco is also keeping tabs on the event circuit. In a letter to RSA conference attendees, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said city officials are working with state, federal and international agencies to closely monitor the virus and any risks of it spreading. The mayor reiterated that the "risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 in San Francisco is low, as the virus is not circulating within our community."
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Coronavirus was first reported to the WHO on Dec. 31, with Chinese investigators linking the disease to the coronavirus family of viruses, which also includes the deadly SARS and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Those infected with coronavirus are exhibiting pneumonia-like symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
The US CDC has maintained the position that the public risk from coronavirus in the US right now is still considered low.