NEW YORK, N.Y. – Poets & Writers has called off its 50th anniversary gala, where guests of honor included Oprah Winfrey. The non-profit organization cited the coronavirus outbreak as the reason for cancelling the March 16 gathering in Manhattan.
“We're sorely disappointed, but made this decision out of a concern for the health and safety of our staff and guests,” Poets & Writers announced Tuesday. Others expected at the gala were Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon and Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch.
The outbreak has prompted many cancellations of public events, including this week’s London Book Fair and National Book Critics Awards ceremony.
For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.