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AFL-CIO presidential forum in Florida with Sanders, Biden canceled over coronavirus

The event was set to be held just five days before Florida’s primary.
Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and former Vice President Joe Biden, right, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and former Vice President Joe Biden, right, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) [ PATRICK SEMANSKY | AP ]
Published Mar. 8, 2020

A presidential forum that was set to feature Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden was canceled by the AFL-CIO on Saturday over fears from Florida’s coronavirus outbreak.

The event was scheduled to be in Orlando on March 12, just five days before Florida’s presidential primary.

The forum is the first major political event to be canceled in Florida due to the virus. It also comes a day after the Florida Department of Health announced two deaths in Florida from coronavirus — one each in Santa Rosa County and Lee County.

The Orlando event was going to be hosted by AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the U.S.

No coronavirus cases have been announced in the Orlando area specifically, but conventions have still been postponed and canceled within the past week. Among the cancellations are Workday and McDonald’s franchisee events, as well as a global health conference where President Donald Trump was expected to attend.

Trump was supposed to deliver a speech at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s conference on Monday at the Orange County Convention Center. The cancellation won’t keep the president out of Florida, though, as he is still scheduled to attend a high-dollar fundraiser on Monday in Seminole County.

Biden’s campaign said Sunday it does not know when exactly the former vice president will return to Florida. He does, however, have events planned in South Florida this week with former Secretary of State John Kerry.

Biden is the clear front-runner in the state. The former vice president is riding a wave of momentum following a week of endorsements and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg dropping out of the race.

Florida and its 219 Democratic delegates could be the deciding factor in who wins the Democratic nomination, and Biden leads by at least 25 points in every major poll conducted in the state.