Candidates to continue campaign rallies amid COVID-19 concerns

Posted at 10:40 PM, Mar 09, 2020

As voters in seven states go to the polls on Tuesday, ex-Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders will hold campaign rallies in Cleveland as cases of the COVID-19 spread nationwide.

On Monday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that three cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the Cleveland area. DeWine, who is a Republican governor who endorsed President Donald Trump in 2016, said he would not attend, but said he did not want to interfere in political rallies.

The city's mayor, Frank Jackson, also said that he has no plans of banning large events.

But DeWine has recently taken a stand against large events in Ohio. Last week, the governor ordered fans not to attend the Arnold Classic fitness competition, which draws thousands of bodybuilding and athletics fans to Columbus. This came despite the objections of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his staff.

As results roll in from Tuesday's "Super Tuesday II" primaries, both Biden and Sanders are expected to speak before supporters just miles apart.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked whether campaign rallies should press on amid the spread of COVID-19. Health experts said the public, especially those at a greater risk of encountering complications from coronavirus exposure, should practice in social distancing for the foreseeable future.

"If you are talking about a campaign rally at a place where there is no community spread, I think the judgement to have it might be a good judgment," Fauci said. "If you want to talk about large gatherings that a place where you have community spread, I think that is a judgment call and if someone decides they want to cancel it, I would not publicly criticize them."