In the wake of nine deaths tied to the Covid-19 coronavirus in the Seattle area, three major publishers announced on Tuesday that they are no longer planning to send staff or talent to Emerald City Comic Con the weekend of March 12:  DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Penguin Random House.

DC’s announcement was the most sweeping: the company is canceling appearances at conventions for all of March, the company told The Hollywood Reporter.  "As the health and safety of our employees are always our primary concerns, DC staffers will not be attending conventions during the month of March," DC said in a statement.  "Future convention attendance will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, factoring in the latest information from a variety of organizations, including the CDC, WHO, U.S. State Department and local health agencies."

Dark Horse made its announcement via Twitter.  "Due to the severity of the COVID-19 virus, Dark Horse Comics has made the difficult decision to pull out of Emerald City Comic Con 2020," the company said in its post.  "It is with the safety and well-being of our staff and creators in mind that we have come to this decision."

Penguin Random House also revealed its decision via Twitter.  "Penguin Random House has come to the difficult decision to cancel its participation in ECCC due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus," it said.  "While this show is an important way for our staff and authors to connect with readers, the health and safety of everyone take priority."

The Seattle area is the site of all nine deaths in the U.S. due to coronavirus after the reclassification of two earlier deaths, according to the New York Times, with indications that the virus has been spreading in the community since mid-January, according to a study reported by StatNews.  The study author believes there are already 500-600 (mostly undiagnosed) cases in the Seattle area.

Meanwhile show organizers have said the show will go on.  "Emerald City Comic Con wants to express our concern for everyone impacted by the COVID-19 virus in the State of Washington and around the World," they said in a statement.  "We are proactively monitoring the situation as State agencies take proactive measures to ensure health and safety and prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 virus in the State.  As always, the well-being of our global ReedPOP community, from our attendees and exhibitors to our staff on-site at every show, is of the utmost importance to ReedPOP and we take pride in creating a positive environment to celebrate comics, cosplay and pop culture.  ECCC 2020 will take place as scheduled March 12-15 at the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) in downtown Seattle.  We have implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitization across the show, including adhering to the recommendations set forth in the U.S. EPA’s Emerging Pathogen Policy regarding cleaning disinfectants effective against the COVID19 virus."

The show is operated by ReedPOP, a division of show management giant Reed Exhibitions.  The company has released a broader statement indicating that all U.S. events are going to go on as scheduled.