With the US becoming the epicentre of COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 edition of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), also known as the Detroit Auto Show, has been cancelled as authorities prepare to use its venue as a field hospital for COVID-19 cases.

The Detroit Auto Show is held every year at the TCF Center (formerly known as the Cobo Center) in Detroit, Michigan, and was scheduled for June this year. Now the venue is being repurposed into a hospital for COVID-19 cases.

However, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc across America, the show's organizers have said that they expect the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to use the convention centre as a field hospital for Covid-19 cases for at least six months.

Detroit Auto Show will be held next year

The show will be back next in June 2021, the organizers said in a memo released Saturday, March 28. All tickets for this year's show, including tickets for the Public Show, Industry Preview and Charity Preview will be fully refunded, the organizers said.

Auto Show
Representational Picture Wikimedia Commons

"Although we are disappointed, there is nothing more important to us than the health, safety and well-being of the citizens of Detroit and Michigan, and we will do what we can to support our community's fight against the coronavirus outbreak," NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts said in a statement.

The annual Detroit Auto Show is the among the largest auto shows in the US attracting more than 800,000 visitors and has traditionally been the venue for automakers around the world to unveil new and concept vehicles since the last 31 years.

Other big auto shows also affected by coronavirus

The NAIAS event is the fourth large-scale auto show to be cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. The 90th Annual Geneva International Motor Show, which was to be held from March 5 to March 15, 2020, was cancelled earlier this month after the Swiss government ordered a ban on large gatherings of more than 1,000 people during the pandemic.

New York Auto Show venue being used as makeshift hospital

The New York International Auto Show, which was originally scheduled to begin on April 10, has been postponed until late-August, and it's venue, the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, is also being designated by FEMA and the US Nation Guard to serve as a makeshift hospital for coronavirus patients. China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, had earlier postponed the Beijing Auto Show, which was slated to begin April 21.

Coronavirus cases in the US

The US is struggling to control the unprecedented spread of COVID-19 in the country and the death toll as on March 29 stood at 2,100 with more than 122,500 cases, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The state of Michigan is among the worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak in the US with more than 4,650 reported COVID-19 cases and 111 deaths. On Saturday, March 28 alone, 1,000 new cases and 19 deaths were reported in the state – the third biggest numbers among the US states.

100 convention centres will be converted into coronavirus hospitals

State and federal authorities are considering more than 100 convention centres and facilities across America to potentially serve as temporary hospitals as coronavirus cases continue rising.