Batman writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads along with Doc Shaner and Clay Mann are making major changes to their fan policies ahead of C2E2 and other upcoming conventions in response to the Centers for Disease Control's public health response the coronavirus pandemic. On Twitter Tuesday afternoon, Gerads explained that he, along with Mann, Shaner, and King, would not be permitting touching of any kind with fans over the next few weeks due to the threat.
"So real talk." Gerads wrote. "With today's CDC news I (and I believe my brothers Tom King, Doc Shaner, and Clay Mann) are taking any touching off the table. Including fist bumps. I'm traveling over the next two weeks to multiple states on multiple planes, and honestly, I'm legit freaked out."
King himself followed up confirming Gerads' sentiment and reiterated that the decision was being made with health -- both theirs and that of the fans -- in mind.
Yeah, I really think shaking hands with fans is important to sort of saying thank you for everything. However, with all the news, for your health and ours, we’re going to do a no touching, cool nods thing for the next bunch of signings. I appreciate you all understanding. https://t.co/yQRwIk9Sly— Tom King (@TomKingTK) February 25, 2020
Earlier in the day on Tuesday, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Dr. Nancy Messonnier warned that the agency expected to see the coronavirus -- named COVID-19 -- spread in the United States as a matter of when, not if.
"We expect we will see community spread in this country," Dr. Messonnier said. "It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness."
On Twitter, the CDC's official account tweeted that Americans should be considering taking precautions and preparing for the illness' spread.
Now is the time for US businesses, hospitals, and communities to begin preparing for the possible spread of #COVID19. CDC continues to work with business, education & healthcare sectors, encouraging employers to be prepared. Learn more: https://t.co/OUYvMhdIaS.— CDC (@CDCgov) February 25, 2020
"Now is the time for US businesses, hospitals, and communities to begin preparing for the possible spread of #COVID19," the tweet read. "CDC continues to work with businesses, education and healthcare sectors, encouraging employers to be prepared."0comments
"We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare in the expectation that this could be bad," she added.
King and Gerads' update to their convention approach is just the latest impact the coronavirus outbreak has had on the entertainment industry. Also on Tuesday, Electronic Arts announced that it will not attend the 2020 Game Developers Conference due to concerns of the illness' spread and, on Monday it was reported that production on Mission: Impossible 7 that was set to begin in Italy had been halted after the government in Venice put a halt to all public gatherings as a result of the coronavirus' increasing number of cases in the country. Italy currently has the largest number of reported cases outside of China, Japan, and South Korea.