Both of the front-running Democratic presidential primary contenders have canceled rallies in Cleveland tonight over concerns about the fast-spreading COVID-19 virus.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has canceled his rally, scheduled to be held Tuesday (March 10) at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, according to an email sent out by his campaign.
Mike Casca, Bernie 2020 communications director, made this statement in the email:
"Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland. We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak. Sen. Sanders would like to express his regret to the thousands of Ohioans who had planned to attend the event tonight. All future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case by case basis."
Former Vice President Joe Biden initially indicated his rally would go forward, but announced its cancellation in an email sent this afternoon.
"In accordance with guidance from public officials and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio tonight is cancelled," Biden Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield wrote in a statement. "We will continue to consult with public health officials and public health guidance and make announcements about future events in the coming days. Vice President Biden thanks all of his supporters who wanted to be with us in Cleveland this evening. Additional details on where the Vice President will address the press tonight are forthcoming."
Coronaviruses are a broad category of virus that cause the common cold, among other illnesses. COVID-19 is what scientists call the new "novel" form of the virus — one that hasn't been encountered before and one which epidemiologists do not yet know how to combat.
A number of institutions have cancelled events or regularly-scheduled operations. The Ohio State University, for example, announced March 9 it would suspend on-campus classes until at least March 30. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine today suggested other universities to do the same.