Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have canceled election night rallies due to fears of the fast-spreading coronavirus, the campaigns announced on Tuesday.
Voters in six states are set to vote on Tuesday, and both candidates had scheduled rallies for supporters. But as CNBC reported, both the Sanders and Biden camps announced earlier in the day that the rallies would be canceled and that both would be showing caution about holding large public gatherings. Public health officials have warned that these gatherings could bring the potential for spreading the virus to a large number of people.
Mike Casca, the director of communication for the Sanders campaign, said that all campaign events would be evaluated on a “case by case basis” moving forward. Biden’s communication director, Kate Bedingfield, also said that the former vice president’s campaign would be making announcements about future events in the coming days.
There has also been pressure on President Donald Trump to cancel campaign rallies amid the spread of the coronavirus. His campaign had announced this week that they would be “proceeding as normal,” though there was not currently any campaign rally on either his or Vice President Mike Pence’s schedule, CNN noted. Trump did hold a rally last week in Charlotte, North Carolina, and held campaign fundraisers over the weekend and on Monday.
Trump has been criticized for a slow response to the spread of the virus and for misleading statements downplaying its spread. He has contradicted his own administration’s health experts in saying that a vaccine would be ready soon rather than the roughly 18 months that health experts have said. The Trump administration has also been criticized for a lack of proper resources available for testing.
Some believe that Trump could take more drastic actions if the virus continues to spread, however. As The Inquisitr reported, Yale University professor and psychiatry expert Bandy X. Lee predicted that he could try to use the crisis to cancel this year’s elections or impose martial law. She added that if the coronavirus continues to spread and the death toll rises, Trump could “blame them on Barack Obama.”
Across the United States, there have been more than 600 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and a number of communities have taken action to stop its spread. As NBC Bay Area reported, Santa Clara County has banned all public gathering over 1,000 people, which could potentially impact the San Jose Sharks and force them to play games in an empty arena.