Topline: Former Vice President Joe Biden swept the first three states of Tuesday night’s primary elections, picking up the majority of delegates in Missouri, Mississippi, and most crucially, Michigan, a state that Sen. Bernie Sanders won in the 2016 primary and is seen as an important swing state in the 2020 general election.
- Biden won the majority of delegates in the first three primary races that were called Tuesday night, including Michigan, which awards a hefty 125 delegates.
- Sanders won Michigan’s Democratic primary in 2016, but President Donald Trump then won the state in the general election.
- Biden’s momentum has grown following his victory in South Carolina and multiple victories on Super Tuesday, but his candidacy may also be boosted by the coronavirus crisis currently facing the country: voters overwhelmingly said in a CNN exit poll that they trusted him more to handle a crisis than Sanders.
- The results come as President Donald Trump is being criticized for downplaying the threat of the coronavirus, while public health experts and local officials say the Centers For Disease Control failed to ramp up testing capacity fast enough, resulting in a botched early start to respond to the disease.
Big Number: 823. That’s how many delegates Biden has won as of Wednesday morning, with Sanders following with 663 delegates, according to the New York Times.
News peg: The U.S. is facing a mounting crisis with the spread of coronavirus, as more than 900 cases have now been confirmed across the country, according to NBC News.
Key background: Both Biden and Sanders have slammed Trump for his handling of the virus. Sanders in recent days has made it a campaign issue by using vulnerabilities in the U.S. health system as a rallying cry for Medicare For All. He also held a roundtable about the subject and has said that a vaccine for Covid-19 should be free. Meanwhile, Biden in a January USA Today op-ed said he would “reassert U.S. leadership in global health security”' by asking Congress to give him the power to declare an emergency under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and beef up funding for efforts to combat infectious diseases.
Tangent: Both Sanders and Biden have canceled rallies in Ohio in response to the disease after local officials warned them about the dangers of large events.