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MARCH 9, 2020 -- The Endocrine Society has canceled its annual scientific meeting because of concerns about the novel coronavirus.
The conference was scheduled to take place March 28-31 in San Francisco. The announcement comes the same day as the American College of Cardiology/World Congress of Cardiology joint conference, scheduled for March 27-30 in Chicago, was also canceled.
"This is an unprecedented public health emergency that is clearly impacting not only the city of San Francisco, but many nations around the world. As such, it is with a very heavy heart that I am reporting to you that out of an abundance of caution, the Board of Directors has decided to cancel ENDO 2020," Endocrine Society President E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, said in a news release.
The Endocrine Society has only canceled its annual meeting twice before in its 104-year history, both during World War II. More than 9000 people were expected to attend. "Like you, ENDO is one of the highlights of my professional life each year and I am sure that you are just as disappointed as I am to hear this news," he said.
As recently as last week, the Society's Board of Directors had still hoped that the meeting could take place, but over the weekend they consulted with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, which has recommended canceling or postponing all non-essential gatherings.
The society also had been following reports from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
Moreover, Abel said, "To add to our concerns, institutions across the world are restricting travel, making it impossible for many who have registered for ENDO 2020 to attend and enjoy the meeting.”
The concerns extend even further, as attendance could take healthcare providers away from where they're needed most during the emergency.
"By holding the meeting we might not only put attendees at risk, but we may also displace healthcare workers during a public health crisis. This could occur because of the need to self-quarantine upon your return home or in a worse scenario contribute to spreading the virus to our attendees' hometowns,” he said.
Abel gave a "special thank you" to the annual meeting steering committee and staff, "who have poured so much into this meeting." The society is currently "exploring ways in which we might be able to deliver to our registrants content from ENDO 2020 in various venues in the coming year."
Meeting registrants will be contacted soon with refund information. For the time being, they can find more information here, where additional details will continue to be posted.