FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about responses to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic at an event in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic candidate Joe Biden said his party’s nominating convention should be held in August rather than July as the coronavirus health crisis upends life in the country.
“I doubt whether the Democratic convention is going to be able to be held in mid-July,” Biden told NBC’s “The Tonight Show” late on Wednesday. “I think it’s going to have to move into August.”
The call for the delay by Biden, the current frontrunner in the Democratic contest to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in the November presidential election, is the latest sign the coronavirus outbreak is having a profound impact on the presidential race and will continue to do so in the coming months.
With much of the country under stay-at-home orders from local and state authorities, presidential campaigning has largely moved online and many states have delayed votes for party nomination contests.
Biden was speaking from what he called a “make-shift studio” in the recreation room of his Wilmington, Delaware home.
The Democratic convention, where the party formally picks its candidate to challenge Trump, is currently scheduled to be held between July 13 and July 16 in Milwaukee.
Biden, who was vice president under President Barack Obama, currently leads the Democratic nominating contest against his rival, Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont.
White House medical experts have forecast that even if Americans hunker down in their homes to slow the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, some 100,000 to 240,000 people could die from the illness.
Already, more than 4,800 Americans have died and over 214,000 cases have been confirmed, according to a Reuters tally.
Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Steve Orlofsky