Sanders, Biden bump elbows ahead of debate

Sanders, Biden bump elbows ahead of debate

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Poll: Trump, Biden in dead heat in 2020 matchup Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Poll: Trump, Biden in dead heat in 2020 matchup Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on MORE (I-Vt.) bumped elbows in lieu of shaking hands ahead of the Democratic debate on Sunday. 

The moment, which was a first in presidential debate history, comes as the U.S. begins imposing new restrictions in an effort to limit social interactions among individuals as the coronavirus spreads across the country.  

The debate was moved from Arizona to studios in CNN's Washington, D.C., bureau last week amid concerns over the virus. Sanders's and Biden's debate podiums were several feet away from each other, and only three hosts were present in the studio. 

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Sunday's debate did not feature a spin room, press filing center or live audience. 

Journalist Jorge Ramos even backed out of his role as a moderator last week due to possible exposure to the coronavirus; however, he is symptom-free. 

Biden and Sanders have addressed the virus, releasing plans to combat the outbreak and hosting virtual events to inform voters on the issue. 

More than 3,244 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the U.S. so far, with a total of 62 deaths nationwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University data. 

State and city officials across the U.S. have announced sweeping restrictions in an effort to prevent the number of cases from rising. 

The governors of Illinois and Ohio announced Sunday they would close all restaurants and bars in response to the pandemic.