President Trump suggested Thursday that the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo should be delayed due to the threat from coronavirus, which a day earlier was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
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Trump’s suggestion comes as several U.S.-based sports leagues, including the NBA, MLS, NHL and NCAA are suspending their seasons or canceling events due to the threat.
“It’s very possible that for the Olympics, maybe, I can’t see just having no people there. In other words, not allowing people. Maybe, and this is just my idea, maybe they postpone it for a year,” Trump said during a press availability alongside Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. “Maybe they do that if that’s possible. Maybe that’s not possible. I guess it’s never happened with the Olympics. Although I think there was interruption for wars.”
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The Summer Olympics in 1940 and 1944 were canceled due to World War II. The 2020 Summer Olympics are scheduled to happen in July and August in Tokyo, Japan.
Japan is close geographically to China but has not been hit nearly as hard by the coronavirus as China or South Korea, both of which are subject to “Level 3” travel warnings from the CDC. “Level 3” warnings instruct Americans to avoid nonessential travel.
Caused partially by Trump’s Wednesday night announcement that he would ban travel to the United States from Europe, and partially by a variety of other factors that have increased worldwide anxieties about the coronavirus in recent days, the U.S. stock market dropped significantly Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down over 2,000 points as of Thursday afternoon.