Because of the coronavirus outbreak, tonight’s Democratic debate will have no audience, and in accordance with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, their podiums will be 6 feet apart.
The debate was originally supposed to take place in Arizona in front of a live crowd, but it was moved to CNN’s Washington, DC, studios last week.
“Out of an abundance of caution and in order to reduce cross-country travel, all parties have decided that the best path forward is to hold Sunday’s debate at CNN’s studio in Washington, D.C., with no live audience,” Xochitl Hinojosa, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement.
Additionally, Univision’s Jorge Ramos was possibly exposed to coronavirus. While he is not exhibiting any symptoms, he has has stepped down from his role as one of the moderators for the debate, the DNC said. The network’s Ilia Calderón will take his place, alongside CNN’s Dana Bash and Jake Tapper.
“Both Mr. Ramos and the person he was in contact with are in good health and symptom free,” Hinojosa said. “Despite being cleared by medical professionals and out of an abundance of caution, Jorge has decided to step aside from participating in the upcoming March 15 Democratic debate.”
The coronavirus pandemic has also led both candidates to cancel rallies and stay off the campaign trail in recent days.