PHOENIX - Because of growing coronavirus concerns, the Democratic debate set for Sunday in Arizona will be moved to Washington, D.C. at CNN's studio with no live audience, the Democratic Nation Committee announced on Thursday.
According to a Twitter post from Xochitl Hinojosa, communications director for the DNC, Univision's Jorge Ramos, who was meant to moderate the debate, was "in proximity" with a person that had directly contacted someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Ilia Calderon, another Univision anchor, will moderate Sunday's debate, according to the statement.
The debate will be the first one-on-one contest between Biden and Sanders.
Arizona Democratic Party Chair Felicia Rotellini said while they were obbiously disappointed the debate had to be moved, it was a feeling that went away quickly.
"This is really a bigger picture issue. The health and well-being of people in the audience, the candidates, is more important than our day of being in the limelight. We got over it pretty quickly, and started thinking about our own operations and what we need to do here in Arizona as the coronavirus escalates," said Rotellini.
COVID-19 has already disrupted other aspects of the presidential campaign, with the Democratic contenders and President Donald Trump canceling rallies on the advice of public health officials who have cautioned against people attending large events.
This announcement arrives in lieu of other changes and closures from mounting concern over the novel coronavirus.
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In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.