The WWE is planning on moving forward with WrestleMania 36 in Tampa, Florida, despite multiple confirmed cases of coronavirus in the area.
"The health and safety of our fans, performers and employees are our top priorities and we are monitoring the situation closely with our partners and government officials in Tampa Bay," the WWE said in a statement released to ESPN. "We remain committed to hosting WrestleMania at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, April 5, and like other entertainment properties in the U.S., there are currently no plans to cancel or postpone our upcoming events."
The CDC confirmed at least two people have tested positive for coronavirus in the Tampa area and hundreds of others are being monitored. Amid the global outbreak of novel coronavirus, large gatherings and sporting events have been postponed or altered to keep fans out of stadiums in regions that have been hit hardest, including Japan and Italy, in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus.
As of yet, precautionary alterations to scheduled large gatherings have not become widespread in the United States.
WrestleMania festivities stretch over the course of a week, with five official nights of broadcasted WWE shows -- WrestleMania, Monday Night Raw, SmackDown, NXT TakeOver and the WWE Hall of Fame -- as well as the WWE's "AXXESS" fan festival, charitable efforts and dozens of unaffiliated events in the region.
Coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, is a new strain of coronavirus that has surged around the globe in recent months. The coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory diseases. Flu is caused by a different virus. There is no vaccine for coronavirus, though researchers are working on one and hope to begin testing soon.
Older people, especially those with chronic illnesses such as heart or lung disease, are most at risk. The coronavirus spreads mainly through coughs and sneezes, though it also can be transferred from surfaces. The best way to prevent infection is by frequent hand-washing, cleaning surfaces with regular household sprays and wipes, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
A study by Enigma Research Corporation found that fans from all 50 states and 68 countries attended WrestleMania 35 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey last year, with 52% of fans among the announced attendance of 82,265 fans coming from outside the New York/New Jersey region.
The study also claimed $165.4 million in "direct, indirect and induced impact derived from spending by visitors to the New York/New Jersey region."