Gen Con canceled over coronavirus fears

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — A four-day Indianapolis gaming convention that draws tens of thousands of visitors every summer was canceled Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus-related deaths in Indiana surpassed 1,800, slightly more than two months after the state recorded its first COVID-19 fatality, health officials said.

Gen Con canceled

The organizers of Gen Con broke the bad news about this year's event, which had been scheduled for July 30-Aug. 2. The cancellation is further trouble for the battered local economy, as last year's event drew about 70,000 people to downtown Indianapolis, with many attendees filling hotels and restaurants wearing science fiction and fantasy game character costumes.

“After carefully monitoring the situation and having ongoing conversations with experts and local government officials, it became clear that the only responsible option was to cancel the convention for this year,” said David Hoppe, president of the convention's Seattle-based organizer, which is also called Gen Con.

Indianapolis first hosted the Gen Con convention in 2003. The group announced Tuesday that it has extended its contract with city convention officials for two more years, through 2026.

Chris Gahl, vice president of the tourism group Visit Indy, said Gen Con’s cancellation was the right decision but that it’s not clear whether the pandemic will affect other major events scheduled for Indianapolis this year.

“Each group is so different in size, scale and setup — and even in hosting — that we don’t we don’t know how or if Gen Con’s decision will impact or create ripples with other groups,” Gahl told the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Deaths top 1,800

Most of Indiana’s 57 new confirmed COVID-19 deaths occurred between Friday and Monday, increasing the total number of such deaths to 1,678, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

The other newly reported deaths date back as far as April 17. Two occurred on April 22, making it the state’s deadliest coronavirus day, with 50 fatalities.

The health department statistics added two deaths from probable infections of COVID-19, raising the state's total number of presumed deaths from the disease to 146 and the total number of confirmed or presumed deaths to 1,824 since the first one was recorded on March 15.

About 75% of Indiana’s deaths have involved people ages 70 and older, according to the health department.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

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