NRA calls off annual meeting over coronavirus

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The National Rifle Association on Friday canceled its annual meeting scheduled for next month, adding to the growing list of organizations calling off events amid fears of coronavirus.

“With our 149th Annual Meeting scheduled for next month in Nashville, we realize many NRA members and meeting guests have questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the potential impact on our convention,” the NRA wrote in a statement Friday. “We have been closely monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tennessee Department of Health. In fact, earlier today, a state of emergency was declared in Tennessee.”

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“Therefore, we have reluctantly decided to cancel this year’s NRA Annual Meeting, planned for April 16 – 19 in Nashville,” they wrote. “We sincerely regret the need for this action, particularly for our many loyal members who join us for this annual celebration of the NRA and our constitutional freedoms.”

The NRA added that details regarding a rescheduled meeting will be “forthcoming.”

They added: “Please know that we did not reach this decision lightly. We were ultimately guided by our responsibility to help ensure the safety and well-being of our NRA members, guests, and surrounding community.”

The NRA’s cancellation comes as concerts, Broadway shows, the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, Professional Golfer’s Association, and Major League Baseball all canceled or postponed scheduled performances, championships and more.

On Thursday, the Democratic National Committee also made changes to their plans for Sunday's Democratic primary debate -- moving the event from Phoenix to a CNN studio in Washington, D.C. where former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will face off without an audience present.

The World Health Organization, on Wednesday, designated the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, an international pandemic.

CORONAVIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

President Trump on Wednesday night, in an address to the nation from the Oval Office, also announced he was calling for a temporary halt on air travel to the United States from Europe, excluding flights from the United Kingdom and those carrying cargo, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

"The virus will not have a chance against us. No nation is more prepared, or more resilient," Trump said.

The outbreak is believed to have originated at an animal and seafood market in the city of Wuhan, China.

As of Friday morning, there were more than 1,600 cases of coronavirus in the United States, in 47 states, including Washington, D.C. The U.S. has, so far, seen 41 coronavirus-related deaths.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.