During Democratic debate, Biden and Sanders call for increased coronavirus testing

17 Mars, 2020, 14:54 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • During Democratic debate, Biden and Sanders call for increased coronavirus testing

(CNN) Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of his previous debates, former Vice President Joe Biden met one of the most pivotal moments of his career with his best debate ever.

Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders also confirmed that he will pick a female running mate for vice president.

Voting has been postponed in OH, where officials ordered polling stations closed, making it the latest and largest state to upend the voting schedule due to the outbreak.

While an OH judge on Monday denied a request to delay that state's election, hours later the state's governor Mike DeWine said the state's health director would declare a health emergency and order the polls not to open.

With federal officials advising against large gatherings for any type of event, Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination to oppose Republican President Donald Trump in the November national election, is hosting a "tele-town hall" with voters in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and OH, the four states with primaries Tuesday.

Voters are also conflicted about venturing out to cast ballots after Trump urged Americans to restrict gatherings to groups of fewer than 10.

Washington was a state Mr Sanders had been hoping to win.

What they're saying: "What became even more apparent yesterday is that while we are now losing the delegate count - approximately 800 delegates for Joe Biden and 660 for us - we are strongly winning in two enormously important areas which will determine the future of our country", Sanders said at a press conference Wednesday, prior to Biden's projected win in Washington.

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In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey said state and Democratic Party officials agreed that the primary should go on.

Biden, 77, tops polling by significant margins in Arizona, Illinois and especially Florida, where the former vice-president could strike a hammer blow against his rival by building an insurmountable lead in the delegate count.

Americans are staying home from work or school by the millions as the country implements emergency measures against a swelling crisis that has already left almost 70 people dead in the United States and more than 3,500 infected. Louisiana had earlier postponed its planned April 4 election to June 20. At one point, Biden actually said, "He's making it hard for me right now", complaining that Sanders was being too aggressive and making it more difficult to unite the Democratic Party behind the eventual nominee.

Both are taking precautions during the outbreak: they are washing hands frequently, staff is working from home, and live campaign events have been scrapped.

Neither questioned whether primary elections should continue regardless of the public health crisis, although after the debate, in comments to CNN, Sanders suggested that it was questionable for Florida, with its large concentration of retirees and the elderly, most at risk from coronavirus, to hold its primary today.

The inability to campaign in person imposes a particular handicap on Sanders, who has consistently mobilised large and enthusiastic crowds at his campaign events.

Sanders has acknowledged he is now the underdog in the delegate race but stressed his progressive movement has "transformed" the 2020 campaign. The No. 1 and No. 2 candidates should make up the Democratic ticket.

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