Bernie Sanders Says Trump 'Blabbering With Unfactual' Coronavirus Information is 'Unacceptable': 'Shut This President Up'

2020 Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders said the first thing he would do tonight to "save American lives" amid the coronavirus outbreak is to shut President Donald Trump up.

"The first thing we have to do, whether or not I am president, is to shut this president up right now," Sanders said during the 11th Democratic debate in Washington D.C. on Sunday night.

"He is undermining the doctors and scientists who are trying to help the American people. It is unacceptable for him to be blabbering with un-factual information that is confusing the general public," the Vermont senator added.

Sunday's debate, moderated by CNN with Ilia Calderón, Dana Bash and Jake Tapper, marked the first time the Democratic primary's two frontrunners, Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, went head-to-head.

The debate was originally scheduled to be held in Arizona, a key swing state in the 2020 election. But the Democratic National Committee changed the location last week over the coronavirus outbreak.

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States has exceeded 3,000, with at least 62 deaths, according to the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering. The outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration over COVID-19 on Friday afternoon. The measure will allow his administration to use the Stafford Act, which governs disaster-relief efforts, to provide as much as $50 billion in funding to state and local governments.

On Sunday, Trump told Americans not to hoard supplies amid concerns of food shortages as states announce restrictions to contain the virus. Massachusetts, Illinois and Ohio are among the states that have closed restaurants and bars due to the pandemic.

"We're doing great, it all will pass," the president said during his press conference.

bernie sanders democratic debate washington dc
Democratic presidential hopeful Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gestures as he takes part in the 11th Democratic Party 2020 presidential debate in a CNN Washington Bureau studio in Washington, D.C. on March 15, 2020. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

During the debate's opening moments, Biden compared the coronavirus pandemic to war and contrasted Sanders' call for a "Medicare for All," claiming that Italy has a single-payer health care system but it's failed to protect the country from COVID-19.

"This is like a war, and in a war you do whatever is needed to be done to take care of your people," the former vice president said. "Everything that you need in terms of dealing with this crisis would be free."

"It is paid for by the taxpayers generally. Generally. It has nothing to do with Bernie's Medicare for All," he added.

When asked what they were doing to protect themselves from the virus, both Biden and Sanders said they were taking all the precautions necessary like using hand sanitizers, avoiding shaking hands and not holding any large, public events.

"I'm taking all the precautions that everyone should take," Biden said.