Biden, Sanders to Debate Without Live Audience Amid Virus Fears

Jennifer Epstein

(Bloomberg) -- The Democratic National Committee announced there will be no live audience for the debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders scheduled for Sunday amid concerns about spreading the coronavirus.

“At the request of both campaigns and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience at the Arizona debate taking place on Sunday, March 15th,” DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement.

Earlier Tuesday, both campaigns canceled planned rallies in Detroit, Michigan on the advice of public health officials who are suggesting people avoid large gatherings.

CNN, which was sponsoring the debate, said in a statement there would also be no press filing center and no “spin room,” which is where candidates, their surrogates and reporters gather after the event to discuss how it went.

The DNC statement said that health officials had suggested that the debate could go on with an audience, but “our number one priority has and will continue to be the safety of our staff, campaigns, Arizonans and all those involved in the debate.”

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To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Epstein in Charleston, South Carolina at jepstein32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Magan Crane

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