“We continue to monitor the situation and follow the guidance of local, state and federal authorities, including the CDC to implement any necessary plans and protocols for the marathon,” organizers said in a statement. “Your safety is paramount and will continue to be our top priority.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed there were no plans to cancel the race, saying there hasn’t been a “community spread” of the disease.
“There’s no reason to cancel it, but we ask people to just make sure that they’re being safe, make sure they’re washing their hands, make sure they’re keeping the right distances … run your free lane and don’t hug everybody afterwards,” Garcetti said Friday.
The race is expected to draw 27,000 runners from across the globe. It gets underway in the early morning hours on Sunday, March 8, at Dodger Stadium and ends in Santa Monica.
Organizers say they are fully cooperating with the city of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department and municipal partners “to ensure public safety” amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Among precautionary steps that have been taken, runners from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Italy, South Korea and Iran were not allowed to participate in this year’s race and had their registrations deferred.
There will be hand sanitizer stations at the starting line, along the route and at the finish festival. Participants are also encouraged to stay home if they feel ill. Organizers additionally reminded the runners that Daylight Saving Time starts Sunday at 2 a.m., with clocks moving forward, so arrive on time.
As of this afternoon, the number of coronavirus cases across the globe had climbed past 100,000, according to the World Health Organization.
The global death toll surpassed 3,400, with 19 fatalities reported in the U.S., including one in California.
The WHO has resisted describing the outbreak as a “pandemic.”
“Unless we’re convinced it’s uncontrollable, why (would) we call it a pandemic?” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week.
In comparison, each year up to 5 million severe cases of the flu are reported worldwide, causing up to 650,000 annual global deaths, according to the WHO.
City News Service contributed to this report.