Coronavirus Cancellations Hit Campaign Trail

Biden, Sanders cancel rallies in Ohio
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 10, 2020 5:30 PM CDT
Coronavirus Cancellations Hit Campaign Trail
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign rally at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., Sunday, March 8, 2020.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden abruptly canceled scheduled rallies Tuesday night in Cleveland amid concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus—as public health fears began transforming the 2020 race. Sanders had been planning to speak at a convention center in Cleveland as results from six states voting in the Democratic presidential contests began rolling in. But he pulled the plug only about three hours before it was scheduled to start, and his campaign announced that decisions on future events would be made on a case-by-case basis, the AP reports. A Biden spokesman initially suggested the former vice president's own event in Cleveland would go on as scheduled, but his campaign subsequently released a statement saying it was off.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency after three individuals from Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. On Sunday, President Trump's campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said, “The campaign is proceeding as normal.” But the campaign hasn’t announced another rally to follow the president’s last one in North Carolina on March 2. Up until now, it had been keeping a steady pace of rallies this year. The 73-year-old president is still scheduled to travel to Las Vegas and Denver this week for fundraisers and a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, has stopped short of calling on candidates to put a pause on political rallies. But he also isn't faulting anyone who chooses to do so. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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