St. Patrick's Day parades canceled nationally amid coronavirus outbreaks

St. Patrick's Day parades canceled nationally amid coronavirus outbreaks
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Cities have canceled St. Patrick’s Day parades across the country as more coronavirus cases are confirmed. 

The parades to celebrate the traditional Irish holiday have been canceled in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia and Seattle, after health experts have warned against events with large crowds to avoid the spread of coronavirus. 

New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioMedia executives, personalities eyeing possible run for New York City mayor NYT editorial board tells de Blasio to 'open your eyes, the police are out of control' Minneapolis, other cities consider cuts to police budgets MORE expressed “real concerns” about the city's St. Patrick's parade as the number of coronavirus cases reached 46 Wednesday, in an interview with local station PIX11. The parade has never been canceled in the 258 years since it started. 

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Several city events like the New York City half-marathon have been canceled or postponed because of concern about the coronavirus. 

“It’s not a slam dunk to say this is something that should be instantly canceled,” de Blasio said Wednesday. “On the other hand, there are real concerns.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Wednesday morning that Saturday’s parade and the city’s famous river dyeing event were canceled, saying they would be rescheduled.

“This was not an easy decision and we don’t take it lightly,” Lightfoot said at a morning news conference, according to the Chicago Tribune

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Meanwhile, the parades in Denver and Philadelphia, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, respectively, were canceled Tuesday, the city’s St. Patrick’s Day organizations announced. Boston’s parade scheduled for Sunday was also shut down Monday in an attempt to limit the number of virus cases.

Seattle’s Irish Heritage Club announced that its Irish Week events are postponed or canceled, as the city struggles as one of the epicenters of the U.S. outbreak.

The club said it is "keeping open the possibility of rescheduling some of the events once the health emergency has passed."

"We believe it is better to be proactive than reactive," the organization said in its emailed announcement.

--This report was updated at 1:54 p.m.