Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders canceled their election night rallies in Ohio on March 10, citing concerns about the coronavirus spreading throughout the United States.
Sanders’s campaign first announced March 10 that his rally in Cleveland would be canceled.
“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,” according to a statement from his campaign.
While Sanders expressed his regret to would-be attendees, he said that all future campaign events will have to be evaluated.
A statement from Biden confirmed he would also cancel a rally in Cleveland.
“In accordance with guidance from public officials and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio tonight is cancelled. We will continue to consult with public health officials and public health guidance and make announcements about future events in the coming days,” said a statement to local news outlets. “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.”
Ohio confirmed its first three COVID-19 cases on March 10, prompting Gov. Mike DeWine to issue a state of emergency to allow the state to buy health-related supplies without contractual issues, according to The Associated Press.
The announcements from the two candidates came the same day as multiple state Democratic primaries, with Michigan having the largest pledged delegate prize. Ohio will hold its primary on March 17.
The cancellations came after Vice President Mike Pence announced that major insurance companies would waive co-payments on coronavirus testing and will extend coverage on treatment.
“I’m pleased to report that as you requested, Mr. President, that all the insurance companies here, either today, or before today, have agreed to waive all co-pays on coronavirus testing, and extend coverage for coronavirus treatment in all of their benefit plans,” Pence said while sitting next to President Donald Trump and insurance company CEOs.
Over the weekend, it was revealed that an attendee at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in late February tested positive for the virus and is now being quarantined at a New Jersey hospital. Trump, Pence, and other administration officials attended the event, but the White House later stated they didn’t have contact with the infected individual.
However, several members of Congress announced they would self-quarantine for 14 days after saying they had interacted with the COVID-19 patient. So far, CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and now-acting White House chief of staff Mark Meadows are in self-isolation, although none of them have confirmed to have had any symptoms.