• Andrew Bierl

How the Coronavirus Has Impacted the Tech Industry

As the COVID-19 outbreak spreads, tech conferences are being canceled, postponed, or turned into virtual events. Tech companies are also restricting employee travel.




The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel Coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, and as the infectious disease continues to spread, the affects on public health and the global economy is unmistakable. In a March 11 statement put out through the WHO website, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said "We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a Coronavirus. This is the first pandemic caused by a Coronavirus."


As of Wednesday, the virus had been detected in 116 countries. Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University on COVID-19 cases show more than 127,000 confirmed cases and more than 4,700 deaths. More than 68,000 people have recovered.


In the US, officials have reported over 1,000 cases in 37 states and Washington D.C. There are 32 reported deaths from the COVID-19 disease. 15 states have declared a state of emergency, including California, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.


On Wednesday night, President Trump announce a ban on non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in many European countries entering the U.S. Last week, Vice President Mike Pence announced that travelers coming into the US on direct flights from Italy and South Korea will be screened for symptoms, travelers from China were already being screened. The US Senate approved a bill to provide $8.3 billion in emergency supplemental funds for Coronavirus response. President Donald Trump signed the bill at the White House on Friday. U.S. lawmakers were working on additional legislation to combat the Coronavirus and serious economic consequences this week.


According to the American Conservative Union (ACU), an attendee at CPAC 2020 has been diagnosed with the novel Coronavirus. Both President Trump and Vice President Pence attended the event, but according to reports neither Trump nor Pence came into direct contact with the infected individual. Several US lawmakers who were at the conference however, did come into contact with the infected attendee. Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Paul Gosar, Rep. Doug Collins, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Rep. Mark Meadows (President Trump's pick to be his new acting chief of staff) have all said they will go into self-quarantine after being told them met the individual.  Video of the President arriving in Georgia for his tour of the Centers for Disease Control on March 6, shows Rep. Collins shaking Trump's hand. According to the White House press secretary, the President has not been tested for the novel Coronavirus.


In last week's Monday Morning Opener, Larry Dignan examined how the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak is affecting global supply chains and consumer demand. On Friday he looked at how the disease may accelerate the future of work, including an increase in telecommuting, greater importance on video conferencing and digital collaboration technology, and less travel. As Larry wrote, "One thing is certain: The Coronavirus is likely to mean the definition of business, as usual, will change."


While we won't know the Coronavirus' effects on the overall nature of work for some time, one sector of the tech economy that's already feeling an immediate impact is industry events. Whether as a result of travel bans, laws banning large gatherings, or an abundance of caution, officials are being canceling, postponing, or converting tech events to virtual events..leaving conference organizers, attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors scrambling to make alternative plans. Companies are also instituting travel restrictions for employees. So, I decided to use this Monday Morning Opener to compile a list of the events that have been called off, pushed back, changed format, or are being held as scheduled.


REMINDER: Check our upcoming events page for updates on our trade shows this year. We hope you can make the rescheduled shows!


Tech conferences canceled, postponed, or going virtual


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