LADSEN, S.C. — Shimano today issued notice that the company will not be attending the 2020 Bassmaster Classic Expo, the Houston Fishing Show or the Fred Hall Long Beach show amidst fears of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.
“The Fred Hall Long Beach Show, the Houston Fishing Show and Bassmaster Classic Expo are all times to celebrate and connect with the fishing community that we love. We share new products, best practices and most importantly, face time with our fans, retailers and passionate anglers from around the world,” said the company in a statement.
“After significant deliberation, Shimano has decided to not attend these shows due to escalating concerns about the coronavirus and any potential post-show quarantine for our team. The health and wellness of our employees and continuance of our business are our top priorities in this continually developing situation. ”
The news is especially prescient for the upcoming 50th Bassmaster Classic, which hosts the largest consumer fishing show in North America this week. However, according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, no cases of COVID-19 have yet been reported in the state. Early symptoms include fever, runny nose, headache, cough and a general feeling of unwell—all shared symptoms with the common flu virus.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), widespread infection of the virus has so far been limited to China, Iran, and Italy, while an ongoing community transmission is taking place in Japan. In an effort to contain their outbreak, which so far hosts 175 domestic cases of COVID-19, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has urged all schools to close until April 8. Likewise, major industrial players like Mitsubishi have instructed entire workforces to stay home.
Stateside, six people—all in Washington State— have died after contracting COVID-19. The CDC estimates around 100 confirmed cases on American soil.
The global death toll among some 89,000 estimated people infected with the disease has risen to more than 3,000. The CDC has issued travel alerts for all but non-essential travel to China and South Korea, but as yet the government agency and the World Health Organization (WHO) are not recommending bans on domestic travel within the United States.
The World Health Organization recommends that travelers exercise the same cautionary measures they’d follow to avoid catching any bug: Keep hands clean and use antiseptic wipes on any surfaces where germs could linger.
In Texas, 11 confirmed cases of the virus have been limited so far to San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base, where international travelers carrying the illness have been quarantined. Passengers flying into select Texas airports are being screened for COVID-19. In California, 40 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, with one confirmed case in Orange County and one confirmed case in Los Angeles—an international traveler from Wuhan, China, who voluntarily entered quarantine for 14 days before release.
“Most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus,” states the CDC. “This virus is not currently spreading widely in the United States. However, it is important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic.”
The CDC expects more domestic cases of COVID-19 to be identified in the coming days and weeks, which could put a strain on existing medical facilities by placing large numbers of people in medical care simultaneously. However, as yet, medical officials say risk for the general American public remains low.