“Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland,” said Mike Casca, a Sanders campaign spokesman. “We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak. Senator Sanders would like to express his regret to the thousands of Ohioans who had planned to attend the event tonight.”
Mr. Casca added: “All future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”
The Biden campaign announced on Tuesday afternoon that it would be canceling its evening event in Cleveland. “In accordance with guidance from public officials and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio tonight is cancelled,” his deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said in a statement posted on Twitter.
She indicated that Mr. Biden would still address the press that evening.
Earlier Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio wrote that he was asking all major indoor events in his state be canceled.
The presidential campaign is now entering a new phase, with the coronavirus outbreak now threatening to upend political activities at the height of the Democratic primary season.
As the public has grown increasingly wary of the coronavirus outbreak, it has largely been business as usual for Mr. Sanders and Mr. Biden Jr., who have continued shaking the hands of supporters.
That anxiety over the virus has now become impossible to avoid — even for a candidate whose strategy depends in part on staging enormous rallies — underscores the seriousness of the escalating health crisis.
Earlier Tuesday, Mr. Sanders told reporters outside a polling place in Dearborn Heights, Mich., that he would abide by guidance from local public health officials when planning his campaign events.
“What we are doing wherever we go, whenever we do rallies, we consult with public health officials because the last thing we want to do is put anybody in danger,” Mr. Sanders said. “We will not do anything that public health officials do not think is right.”
Mr. Sanders also held a round table discussion Monday at a hotel at the Detroit airport with public health experts on the coronavirus.
Mr. Sanders is known for holding enormous rallies which double as shows of force, and the reverberating effects of coronavirus could hit his campaign hard if those types of events become impossible to stage.