Biden says 2nd presidential debate should be called off if Trump ‘still has Covid’
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden said the next debate between himself and President Donald Trump later this month should be cancelled if his rival still has Covid-19. Biden said previously he’d let the experts decide.
“Well, I think if he still has Covid, we shouldn't have a debate,” Biden told reporters on the campaign trail in Hagerstown, Maryland on Tuesday, despite saying he was anticipating the October 15 event and suggesting it would have to “follow very strict guidelines.”
Both Trump and the first lady tested positive for the virus last week. The president spent three days at the Walter Reed medical center just outside the nation’s capital for treatment before returning to the White House. Though Trump said earlier on Tuesday that he is “feeling great” and “looking forward to the debate,” Biden has vacillated on whether the event should take place.
On Monday, the Democratic candidate said he would “listen to the scientists” and participate so long as they deemed the event safe, making no reference to whether the president remained Covid-positive. Less than one day later, Biden’s stance appears to have changed, now only agreeing to debate if the president no longer carries the virus.
Some observers, including former GOP Representative David Jolly and a number of media pundits, have recommended both the presidential and VP debates be held virtually to avoid risk of infection altogether, however neither candidate has endorsed the idea.
On average, coronavirus patients with “mild to moderate” symptoms remain infectious for around 10 days, according to the CDC, opening the possibility that the president could safely debate by October 15. However, some patients continue to be contagious for up to 20 days, though typically they experience more severe symptoms or “critical illness,” which Trump so far appears to have avoided.
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