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Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders cancel Ohio rallies amid coronavirus concerns

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen....

Posted: Mar 10, 2020 5:41 PM

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders canceled separate campaign rallies scheduled for Tuesday night in Cleveland, Ohio, as state officials expressed concern over large indoor gatherings being held during the coronavirus pandemic.

The cancelations in Ohio are the first major political rallies to be called off because of concerns about coronavirus, as presidential campaigns face questions about whether they can keep their candidates on the road and continue to hold indoor events amid warnings from officials about large public gatherings.

"In accordance with guidance from public officials and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio tonight is canceled. We will continue to consult with public health officials and public health guidance and make announcements about future events," Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.

Sanders communications director Mike Casca similarly said in a statement, "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," Casca added.

Visit CNN's Election Center for full coverage of the 2020 race

The decisions to cancel comes as campaigns have come under increased pressure to respond to growing concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

A senior aide to Sanders' campaign told CNN once the Sanders team was made aware of that guidance from state officials, they informed the candidate and he was the one that made the decision to cancel the event. According to the aide, the Sanders campaign had received 5,000 RSVPs to the event.

Earlier in the day when visiting a polling location in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, Sanders told reporters, "We take the coronavirus very seriously."

"What we are doing, wherever we go, whenever we do rallies, we consult with public health officials because the last thing in the world we will ever want to do is put anybody in danger," Sanders added.

Sanders said he still is shaking hands, but admitted to reporters on Tuesday that "not as much I think as we used to."

Asked, during an interview with Chris Cuomo on CNN Monday, what other precautions he is personally taking, Sanders said, "I have used more hand sanitizer in the last two weeks than I have in my entire life."

On Monday night in Detroit, Biden's campaign had volunteers squirting hand sanitizer into the hands of every person who entered a rally in a high school gymnasium. Biden has also cut down his time shaking hands on rope lines after events, and told NBC on Monday he is now doing more fist bumps.

"I'm looking to the CDC for advice on that," he said when asked whether his campaign was reconsidering rallies going forward. "We're going to follow the recommendations of the experts ... and if they conclude that there shouldn't be big indoor rallies, then we'll stop big indoor rallies. We're going to do whatever they say."

On Monday, Sanders held a panel discussion on the spread of coronavirus in Detroit, accompanied by doctors and professionals focused on the issue.

Sanders has repeatedly emphasized that his campaign is in contact with local officials wherever he travels, and his campaign has taken some precautionary steps by creating Purell stations at rallies.

When asked if he plans to listen to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who says that people over the age of 60 with an underlying health condition should take particular precautions, Sanders said on Monday, "I'm running for President of the United States and that requires a whole lot of work."

Sanders' decision to cancel tonight's rally comes as six states are voting on the second Super Tuesday.

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Cases: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
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Marshall627255
Houston525638
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Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
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Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
Out of AL00
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Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 363466

Reported Deaths: 4541
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby47682658
Davidson42703420
Knox18764149
Rutherford17749161
Hamilton16701152
Williamson1140080
Sumner9744137
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Wilson748178
Montgomery658683
Sullivan643996
Washington6000106
Putnam591382
Maury584267
Blount549160
Madison5349110
Bradley519735
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Unassigned468222
Robertson377453
Tipton365938
Hamblen345560
Gibson323365
Dyer320751
Greene308272
Anderson294629
Dickson289133
Coffee281841
Bedford275630
Carter272455
Lawrence270034
Obion265950
Cumberland257236
McMinn252355
Warren240020
Roane235229
Loudon228019
Jefferson226932
Fayette225338
Hardeman224737
Weakley216937
Monroe212744
Franklin208634
Lauderdale205023
Hawkins194934
Wayne192010
Trousdale190512
Henderson185133
Macon184028
Hardin178125
White176918
Carroll174734
Marshall174420
Rhea169731
Haywood162930
Lincoln161215
Cocke160630
Cheatham158617
Overton154335
Campbell154223
Henry153619
Giles146949
Smith143819
Johnson141621
McNairy140233
Fentress121920
Hickman118219
Lake11766
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DeKalb115822
Crockett115526
Marion109819
Scott10727
Chester102520
Grainger101217
Decatur95513
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