A supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., holds a sign outside the Huntington Convention…
A supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., holds a sign outside the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland before a campaign rally, March 10, 2020. The rally was canceled due to COVID-19 fears.

Democratic presidential candidates Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden canceled primary night rallies Tuesday, due to coronavirus concerns.

"Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight's rally in Cleveland," said Mike Casca, a campaign spokesman for Sanders. "We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak. Sen. Sanders would like to express his regret to the thousands of Ohioans who had planned to attend the event tonight."

Casca added that all future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The Biden campaign sent out a similar statement late Tuesday afternoon.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden walks across the airport tarmac to his campaign plane with his wife, Jill, to depart after canceling his primary night rally over coronavirus concerns in Cleveland, Ohio, March 10, 2020.

"In accordance with guidance from public officials, and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio, tonight is canceled," said Kate Bedingfield, Biden's communications director. "We will continue to consult with public health officials and public health guidance and make announcements about future events in the coming days. Vice President Biden thanks all of his supporters who wanted to be with us in Cleveland this evening."

The Tuesday rallies were not the first campaign event to be canceled due to COVID-19 fears. Over the weekend, the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest federation of unions, scrapped plans for a presidential forum on Thursday in Orlando, Florida, where Biden and Sanders were scheduled to appear.  

CDC guidelines

The CDC has issued guidelines to avoid being exposed to the virus, including avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and distancing oneself from other people if COVID-19 is spreading in the community. The CDC also recommends postponing large gatherings.

On Monday, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, declined to comment specifically about campaign rallies.

"It really depends," he said. This is "an evolving thing," and it will take a "judgment call" on whether a campaign holds a rally in a place where there is community spread.

"If someone decides they want to cancel it, I wouldn't publicly criticize them," Fauci said.

President Donald Trump's last rally was held on March 2. As of this weekend, he said he intends to continue having them.

"We'll have tremendous rallies, and we're doing very well," Trump said March 7 at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago. "We've done a fantastic job with respect to that subject on the virus."

The Trump campaign has not responded to VOA's questions regarding campaign plans during the coronavirus crisis.