It's a good thing the Detroit Auto Show didn't take place in January this year.
The entire world is currently engulfed in the coronavirus pandemic and the US is being hit hard right now, especially at the outbreak's epicenter of New York. While the worst is yet to come, things could have potentially been far worse if it weren't for the 2020 Detroit Auto Show's date change from January to June. Although the event has since been canceled completely this year, if it was held during its traditional January date, Covid-19 would have struck America earlier. Government and health authorities would have been even less prepared.
The Detroit Free Press reports that the Motor City could have been the coronavirus epicenter in America if the old January show date remained in place. America simply wouldn't have been ready to battle the virus yet. Auto shows like Detroit attract people from all over the world and Chinese media outlets and industry executives surely would have arrived as usual.
"It could've been a catastrophe," said Dr. Peter Gulick, an infectious disease specialist at Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine about the timing of an outbreak in Detroit. "It was an environment for disaster. Detroit could've been the epicenter of Covid-19 for the whole country." The press days alone attract 5,000 international journalists along with 10,000 auto industry VIPs. And then the show opens to the public.
Instead of the Covid-19 outbreak beginning in Detroit, it likely began in New Orleans, Louisiana in February during Mardi Gras.
"There would've been people from all over the world packed in together before the gravity of the disease was understood," Gulick said. "It would've caught us even more unprepared because no research or testing had taken place yet."
If you recall, Detroit show organizers ultimately decided to move the show from the wintry cold of January to summertime June, a perfect opportunity to allow for outdoor demonstrations of numerous new technologies, such as self-driving cars. Originally, all-new vehicles such as the redesigned Ford F-150 would have made their public debuts this June, but that'll all now have to wait.