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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Sanders, Biden Cancel Cleveland Rallies Due to Coronavirus

a photo of a Bernie Sanders supporter
Jessica Johnston, of Madison, Ohio, made the trip to the Huntington Convention Center in downtown Cleveland for the Bernie Sanders campaign rally planned for Tuesday, March 10, 2020. She was disappointed the rally was canceled.

Two campaign rallies planned in Cleveland Tuesday evening were canceled due to concerns over coronavirus. Three cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, have been confirmed in Ohio and all three are in Cuyahoga County. 

a photo of Sanders supporters in Cleveland
John Kerr (left) 29, Nate Moran, 34, and Kenny Freda, 29, all volunteers for the Bernie Sanders campaign and all from Canton, Ohio look at text messages received by Moran from the Sanders national campaign regarding the cancellation of Sanders' rally scheduled for that evening. The notice went out approximately 4 hours before the event began at Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

Joe Biden said Governor Mike DeWine asked the candidates to cancel the events due to concerns about the spread of the illness. Biden was to rally at Cuyahoga Community College. The governor has urged people to avoid such large indoor gatherings where germs can easily spread.  

A number of Bernie Sanders supporters made the trip to the Huntington Convention Center for his planned event, only to learn it had been canceled. Among them was Jessica Johnston from the Lake County suburb of Madison. “It’s my birthday,” said Johnston. “I wanted to spend my birthday with Bernie. I’m just so shocked [COVID-19] is happening in our town. We just got the first confirmed cases. I didn’t think this would be shut down. I’m still gonna be wearing my Bernie stuff and still celebrate my birthday with Bernie even if it can’t be in person.” 

There was some confusion about whether the rally would go on and the cancellation surprised those who made the trek downtown. "It’s like when the Griswolds get all the way to Wallyworld only to find out it’s closed,” said Johnston.

A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.