But Sanders said Sunday that his campaign is continuing full steam ahead, barring any advice to the contrary from public health officials.
The Sanders campaign later announced that the senator from Vermont will hold a roundtable Monday with public health experts in Detroit to discuss the coronavirus and how the country should address it.
“We are in communications with public health officials wherever we go,” Sanders said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked whether he would consider curtailing his travel or political rallies in an effort to curb the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
He added: “We will not endanger the health of anybody in this country. . . . We are watching this thing very, very carefully. What is most important is the health of the American people.”
When host Jake Tapper asked Sanders whether he and two other older men — Biden and President Trump — might want to scale back their exposure to large crowds given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s current advice to Americans in that age group, Sanders acknowledged the contradiction.
“Well, in the best of possible worlds, maybe,” he said. “But right now, we’re running as hard as we can.”
Biden appears to be moving ahead with his scheduled events, as well. On Sunday, his campaign announced that Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), who just endorsed Biden, will be joining the former vice president for a get-out-the-vote event Monday in Detroit.
During a campaign stop at Pearl’s soul food restaurant in Jackson, Miss., Biden answered a question about the coronavirus while rubbing sanitizer on his hands.
“We’re listening to the experts at the CDC and doing everything they recommend,” he said.
Six states will vote on Tuesday: Idaho, Mississippi, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington.
As the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination has played out over the past several weeks, Trump has typically held a rally on the eve of each primary or caucus. But as of Sunday, no plans for a Monday night rally had been announced by the campaign. The president’s last rally took place this past Monday in North Carolina.
Erin Perrine, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement that the campaign is “proceeding normally” and will announce further events at a later date.
“We will announce rallies when we are ready to do so,” Perrine said. She noted that last week, Trump held a town hall and a fundraiser, “and we have loads of campaign events on the event schedule on the website.”
On the Sunday morning news shows, some Democrats said they were deeply frustrated by the Trump administration’s response to the crisis so far. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), speaking on CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” was harshly critical of Trump and his deputies.
“And what is unforgivable is that the administration didn’t see this coming,” Murphy said. “This president has created a culture of misinformation in which no one wants to give him bad news. And that created a disincentive in the White House and in the administration to come up with an early test.”
“I imagine we have hundreds, if not thousands, of cases in my state. I think we have no concept of the scope of this epidemic yet because we have not been able to test,” Murphy said. “We are doing a lot more screening in our state, but we do not have the ability to give a test to everyone who wants one, as the president said was the case on Friday afternoon.”
Other Democrats struck a less critical tone.
In an interview on the same program, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said his state was working with federal officials to curb the spread of the virus.
“We are acting based on science and a commitment for all of us to be soldiers in this battle. And we are doing that,” Inslee said. “All systems of government are working very hard to be very aggressive against this potentially fatal disease.”
Inslee offered praise for Vice President Pence, saying that federal officials were “being very diligent,” even though tests were not done early enough to identify potential carriers of the disease.
“Well, certainly there were troubles at the beginning of this, with the testing protocols,” he said. “We’re pleased that Congress has acted. And we’re pleased that the federal government is helping us right now.”
Cleve R. Wootson Jr. in Jackson, Miss., and Seung Min Kim and Derek Hawkins in Washington contributed to this report.