In the past week, 4 furcons mainly from the Americas continent are cancelled; Red Deer Mini Con (Canada), Midwest FurFest (Illinois USA), Aquatifur (Wisconsin USA) and Confuror (Mexico).
So far, Mexico’s Confuror has officially announced that they are going to become fully virtual for free this year, on 9 – 11 October, their originally planned dates.
We believe that this is the best measure we can take to prevent any consequences on the health of our attendees or their families, because although we strongly hope that the risk of contagion will decrease in the coming days or months, we do not wish to represent a risk.Organizing Committee, Confuror
While for Midwest FurFest, they stated that they would be considering to host a virtual event for 2020 as well.
So far, there are 81 cancellations, 4 deferred and 16 furcons to hold this year.
Cancelled furcons, aboard the online furry events trend
As we’ve been observing in the past few months, the cancellations of furcons has brought up the trend of online furry events and conventions. Although odd at first, it connected them with their friends together for a fun-filled furry weekend.
The furry spirit still goes on during the pandemic, albeit limited virtually to the internet; as Flayrah reported, it was the catalyst of furry fandom’s growth that still goes on until today.
Today, aside from independently organised online furcons like Down Home Furcon, Furality Online Xperience and the recent NONSTOP.WORLD, physical furcons are starting to join in as well. Some even fully virtualised their next year’s edition.
Most notably, Anthrocon, the world’s second largest furcon, has recently held their 3-day virtual event on YouTube from 3 – 5 July.
Speculation of a second wave of COVID-19 brews
It has been months since the start of the outbreak which originated from Wuhan, a city in Hubei Province, China, and many governments around the world are starting to gradually reopen businesses and activity as the pandemic is getting controlled within their borders.
However, numerous health experts fear a second wave of the pandemic as well, in sight of recent spikes and increases of cases.
According to a report by The Guardian, senior doctors in the UK “are pleading with the public” to help prevent a second wave of the pandemic that could “devastate” the country’s National Health Service (NHS), amid concerns about the loosening of restrictions. Dr Alison Pittard, head of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, also warned on the severe disruption of the NHS should it coincide with seasonal flu and “the consequences of the backlog of treatment for serious illnesses including cancer”.
As pointed out by the BBC in a report on Jun 26, countries are starting to face new cases after a period of calm. New Zealand, which had new cases after 24 days without coronavirus, and Beijing, which faced an outbreak after 50 virus-free days.
In a recent report by Forbes, top Covid-19 scientific advisors in France believe a second wave of Covid-19 is “extremely likely” in the northern hemisphere in coming months. And it could be “much greater than the first”.
What does it mean for furry fandom?
The pandemic may seem like it is about to end soon, however current trends extended that end point. And that would continue to affect us too. Furcons are getting wary of this possible risk they might be encountering should they go ahead in 2021.
Japanese furcon Japan Meeting of Furries (JMoF) recently canceled their 2021 furcon – the first furcon in 2021 to do so. In a statement, they cited that even though the situation in Japan is calming down, forecasts about when it will be completely controlled “are few”, and experts are “all saying to prepare for the next outbreak”.
As we’ve seen earlier, FurSquared completely virtualised their 2021 edition, in order to not risk themselves in an uncertain future on the pandemic.
The pandemic so far has dealt damage to the fandom, other than taking away chances for socialization – which is a big part of the fandom, it could put events and furries that do commissions at risk financially, and furries at large psychologically as well, as we’ve found out in our mass furry survey conducted on May.
However, the advent of online events worked to eliminate the risks of physical furry gatherings in an online space, albeit odd, says one attendee at DHFC. The events, though are online, did not stop creating a positive impact to society. Recently Fursaverance, South Africa’s first online furcon, raised US$1,150 to Husky Rescue, a 1,150% increase from their expected count of US$100.
And to add on, a pawsitive impact to furry fandom too, in the form of continued connections, cohesion and sustenance of the furry spirit through the internet.
Staying connected online may have to go on for a while, and our cherished furry handshake (the hug) cannot be done as of now. But as long as the internet glows, the fandom will still glow.