Thousands Attend Pax East Convention in Boston Amid Growing Coronavirus Fears

Pax East runs from Feb. 27 through March 1 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Amid growing concerns about the coronavirus, the Pax East Convention in Boston is bringing people into the city from all over.

The novel coronavirus, first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, has killed over 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 globally.

Despite mounting fear over the virus, thousands of gamers have shown up to the first two days of the event at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, where one major company was noticeably missing.

Sony dropped out of Pax East last week, citing increasing concerns related to the coronavirus. A Sony spokesperson said at the time it was their safest option.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh sent a letter to the company, appealing to them to attend the event, saying it should make decisions based on “fact not fear.” He also urged the company not to play into what he calls harmful stereotypes about Chinese people.

In a statement, Pax East says it is saddened that Sony is no longer participating. They also say, "We are working closely with the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and following local, state and federal public health guidelines, including those issued by the CDC."

Concerns about coronavirus haven't stopped thousands of people from showing up to the Pax East Convention in Boston.

Alex Ryan is with Deep Silver, the company that took Sony's spot on the expo floor. He says it's a Petri dish of people touching the same keyboards and mouse over and over, but that they feel it's a safe event to go to.

Walsh maintains the risk of contracting the virus in Boston remains extremely low, but Pax East officials have proactively increased cleaning and sanitizing this year to minimize the risk of an outbreak.

While the city’s public health department also says the risk of getting coronavirus here is low, they say the risk for the flu is high.

Brothers Matt and Tim Faustini are in town from New Jersey. One brother said he chose to wear a mask for precautionary measures, while the other brother didn't because he said he feels fine and is more worried about the flu.

Officials in Massachusetts and around the world are taking measures to keep people safe from coronavirus.

Some people like Henry Chen told NBC10 Boston they considered not coming, but they instead chose to attend and take protective measures such as wearing masks or gloves.

Out of thousands of people, however, only a small percentage of people were seen wearing masks.

The convention goes through the weekend.

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