No Live Audience At Next Primary Debate Due To Coronavirus Concerns, DNC Announces

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden speak during a break at the Democratic presidential primary debate on February 25, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina.... Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden speak during a break at the Democratic presidential primary debate on February 25, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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March 11, 2020 9:55 a.m.
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The Democratic National Committee announced on Tuesday night that there will be no live audience at the Democratic presidential primary debate in Phoenix, Arizona on Sunday.

Both Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaigns had requested the move, according to DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa.

“The DNC has been in regular communication with local health officials and the Mayor’s office, which advised that we could proceed as planned,” Hinojosa said in a statement. “Nevertheless, our number one priority has and will continue to be the safety of our staff, campaigns, Arizonans and all those involved in the debate.”

CNN, which will host the debate, issued a statement on Tuesday night saying the network would also get rid of the post-debate spin room and press filing center.

“CNN’s top priority is the safety of our employees and community members,” CNN said in a statement. “This extends to guests planning to attend or cover our debate on March 15.”

The debate is scheduled to begin at 8:00 PM EST on March 15 and will air on CNN and Univision. CNN hosts Dana Bash and Jake Tapper plus Univision anchor Jorge Ramos will be moderators.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) called on the DNC to cancel all the upcoming debates in wake of Biden’s sweeping victories on Tuesday, but as of Wednesday morning there is no indication the DNC will do so.

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Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
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