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2020 Dem Debate in Phoenix to Have No Live Audience Amid Coronavirus Concerns

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The final scheduled 2020 Democratic primary debate will not be well-attended, but not because people did not want to be there.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced on Wednesday that they are scrapping a live audience at the debate amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. The debate will, however, continue as scheduled in Phoenix, Ariz., on March 15.

The decision comes “at the request of both campaigns and out of an abundance of caution.”

“The DNC has been in regular communication with local health officials and the Mayor’s office, which advised that we could proceed as planned,” DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa wrote in a statement.

The communications director added, “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. We will continue to remain in daily contact with all stakeholders through Sunday.”

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Both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden have met the debate requirements so they will face off in Arizona. However, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who is still in the race, has not met the criteria to attend.

The upcoming debate follows after Biden had some sweeping victories on Tuesday in multiple states, as he gathered at least 157 delegates while Sanders garnered at least 97, as IJR previously reported.

The two Democratic presidential hopefuls canceled their election-night rallies in Ohio on Tuesday due to concerns about the coronavirus. However, Biden still delivered a short speech in Philadelphia.

This comes amid fears over the coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus passed 1,000 in the U.S., as of Tuesday night, and there have been at least 31 deaths.

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