The Los Angeles Marathon will proceed as scheduled on Sunday, even after the new coronavirus outbreak prompted California Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a statewide emergency and race officials in other impacted areas to cancel similar events.
“All Los Angeles Marathon weekend activities are scheduled to take place as planned,” race officials said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Safety is always our first priority and our operations team has been in consistent dialogue with local authorities and monitoring developments related to all safety aspects of the Marathon including coronavirus.”
About 27,000 people are expected to participate in this year’s race, according to Los Angeles-area newspaper The Daily Breeze. Participants are expected to include runners from all 50 states and more than 78 countries.
There were 232 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, including 53 cases in the state of California. More than 100,000 cases and at least 3,280 deaths have been reported worldwide.
The Los Angeles Marathon will proceed even as U.S. authorities and businesses urge Americans to avoid non-essential travel and take precautionary measures due to the novel coronavirus. Newsom declared a statewide emergency after California reported its first coronavirus-related death.
Coronavirus fears prompted race officials to cancel the Rome marathon in Italy, which was scheduled to take place on March 29. More than 100 people have died from the virus in Italy.
The Milan Marathon, scheduled for April 5, is still on track for now. Milan is located in Italy's Lombardy region which has the most cases diagnosed -- 1,520 -- in Italy. The entire country, with 3,296 cases, has the fourth-highest number of people with the disease behind China, South Korean and Iran.
The rapid spread in recent days also sparked speculation that the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo could be postponed or canceled entirely later this year. So far, the International Olympic Committee has largely dismissed the possibility.
Still, last week's Tokyo marathon was largely run in empty streets with only 200 elite runners allowed to compete. The 2019 event featured more than 37,000 runners with tens of thousands cheering the athletes along the route.