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Ozzy Will Rock and Roll From a Safe Distance, Thanks

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Ozzy Osbourne has decided to cancel his upcoming appearance at SXSW. Given his present health circumstances, combined with the unknown threat of coronavirus, it seems like the smart choice.

Osbourne made the announcement today, just as other artists were doing the same. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross also said they were canceling their keynote appearance at the festival. The two had planned to talk about their score for HBO's "The Watchmen."

Up In Smoke

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Just a couple of months ago, Osbourne announced that he'd been living with Parkinson's disease for more than a year. He's had various other health problems along the way, too, so it makes sense that he wouldn't want to risk his well-being any further by putting himself among crowds of people at a festival.

Though health officials don't know all that much about coronavirus, it appears the virus can be more lethal to senior citizens and those with underlying health issues. Combine Osbourne's age (he's 71) with his Parkinson's diagnosis, and things could get really scary.

Besides Osbourne, Ross and Reznor, companies like Apple, Netflix, Amazon Studios, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook have also pulled out of planned appearances. Despite those heavy losses, organizers at SXSW say they're going ahead anyway.

Coronavirus Fears Gripping the Globe

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COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, originated in China a few months ago and has now traveled the globe, reaching nearly every continent. There is no vaccine right now, and scientists are scrambling to make one, but that could take more than a year.

According to CBS News, more than 95,000 people have come down with the virus, and more than 3,200 have died. Containment no longer seems like an option.

Living In the Unknown

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There have been at least 12 deaths in the United States from the virus, and the burgeoning pandemic still carries so many unknowns. So it's no wonder that organizations are trying to keep their employees safe and away from crowds.

But public health officials in the SXSW city of Austin say canceling the event wouldn't really do much in terms of stopping or slowing the virus.

According to Dr. Mark Escott, interim medical director and health authority for Austin Public Health, it won't make that much of a difference at all whether SXSW cancels.

Doctor: If There's a Threat, You'll Know About It

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Escott also says there's no reason to believe there would be a coronavirus outbreak during the days-long Austin festival, which will be held March 13 to March 22.

“Right now, there is no evidence that closing South by Southwest or other activities is going to make this community safer,” said Escott, adding that health officials are keeping an eye on the situation.

But some are concerned that it could happen, and Escott has an answer for that.

“If there’s any evidence that our community will be safer by closing down public events, we’ll do that," he said.

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