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Photo: Axios screenshot

Canceling the South by Southwest festival was "horrible," but necessary, as the coronavirus began to spread through the United States, Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler said at an Axios event on Wednesday.

The big picture: The popular film, music and technology event attracts more than 400,000 attendees annually to the city's downtown. It was scheduled to take place March 13–22 before it was moved to an online format. The cancellation cost Austin $350 million in revenue, Adler said.

  • "It became real apparent as it was spreading across the world toward us that when this hit, it hit faster than anyone could anticipate," Adler said.
  • "We want at South By so many people coming from so many different places because of the environment that it creates and the pot that you can stir with ideas and innovations. But it was that very collection of people from all over the world that made it so susceptible to virus transfer."

Go deeper

Trump claims COVID "will go away," Biden calls his response disqualifying

President Trump repeated baseless claims at the final presidential debate that the coronavirus "will go away" and that the U.S. is "rounding the turn," while Joe Biden argued that any president that has allowed 220,000 Americans to die on his watch should not be re-elected.

Why it matters: The U.S. is now averaging about 59,000 new coronavirus infections a day, and added another 73,000 cases on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The country recorded 1,038 deaths due to the virus Thursday, the highest since late September.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns — New cases down
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release COVID vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

How the coronavirus pandemic could end

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's still the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, but history, biology and the knowledge gained from our first nine months with COVID-19 point to how the pandemic might end.

The big picture: Pandemics don't last forever. But when they end, it usually isn't because a virus disappears or is eliminated. Instead, they can settle into a population, becoming a constant background presence that occasionally flares up in local outbreaks.