The 2016 Democratic convention. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee announced on Thursday that its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The global pandemic is changing the fundamentals of the 2020 presidential election, and any snags in the process have the potential to help President Trump's re-election efforts.

What they're saying: "During this critical time, when the scope and scale of the pandemic and its impact remain unknown, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of health care professionals and emergency responders," said Joe Solmonese, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee.

The state of play: In mid-March, DNC chairman Tom Perez told "Axios on HBO" that he wasn't even entertaining the idea of canceling the July convention and replacing it with a virtual one.

  • Now, three weeks later, the sudden change in plans reflects the severity of this public health crisis.

Background: The Democratic convention was originally scheduled for July 13–16 in Milwaukee. The party's new plans for mid-August would put its convention just a week before the Republican National Convention, which is set for Aug. 24–27.

  • At least 15 states have had to postpone their primary contests by weeks and months because the coronavirus outbreak is forcing voters to stay inside and away from large groups.
  • The 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia had an estimated 50,000 visitors and generated $230 million for the city.
  • Wisconsin's Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has issued a stay-at-home order because of the virus, and a new study suggests the virus will hit the state hardest in late April.

Joe Biden, who is expected to win the nomination, hinted Wednesday night when he appeared on "The Tonight Show" that he expects the convention to be postponed until August.

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