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White House Correspondents' Dinner postponed amid coronavirus outbreak

The White House Correspondents' Association announced Sunday that they will postpone the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

(CNN) -- The White House Correspondents' Association announced Sunday that they will postpone the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The dinner and awards gala, originally scheduled for April 25, will be held at an "alternative date," according to a tweet from the WHCA.

The move comes as health officials are encouraging the public to stay home and practice social distancing to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The number of US cases topped 31,000 Sunday afternoon with at least 389 deaths.

Comedian Kenan Thompson was tapped to host this year's event and Hasan Minhaj, who performed at the dinner in 2017, was chosen to perform.

ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, this year's president of the association, previously said the two would "help us celebrate the role of a free press in our democracy."

As President, Donald Trump has snubbed the dinner for three straight years -- a break with longstanding presidential tradition.

Last year, historian Ron Chernow was invited in place of a comedian. Chernow, the author of the Alexander Hamilton biography that inspired the hit musical "Hamilton," only mentioned Trump by name once, but the President's "enemy of the people" rhetoric came up repeatedly.

"When you chip away at the press, you chip away at our democracy," Chernow said.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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