Biden he'll “do whatever the experts say” when it comes to meeting a possibly still-infected Donald Trump for the next debate, on Oct. 15 in Miami

By Sean Neumann
October 07, 2020 10:38 AM
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Former Vice President Joe Biden
| Credit: ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has now repeatedly tested negative for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the wake of President Donald Trump's infection and hospitalization late last week.

While experts say that testing, especially in the early days of an infection, are not absolute indicators of health, the repeated results over several days — beginning Friday — strongly support the Biden campaign's belief that their candidate was not infected, given his proximity to the president at last week's debate in Cleveland.

In addition to the multiple tests, the latest of which was announced Tuesday, the Biden campaign said it would be disclosing the results of any test.

Aides had previously been reluctant to discuss the extent to which Biden was tested, instead stressing his many precautions against the virus over the summer, when he avoided in-person campaigning.

While they have reversed their testing policy, in light of Trump's infection, the campaign brushed off concerns about Biden continuing to do physical events rather than quarantine entirely.

Appearing on CNN Sunday, senior adviser Symone Sanders was asked about the campaign's plans should Biden become ill. "Much like I wouldn’t discuss our security plans here on national television, I’m not going to talk about our inner workings of our health plan," she said.

Biden, 77, has continued small, socially distanced in-person events in recent days, while Trump receives medical care.

Last week, Biden briefly greeted a large crowd outside a stop on his train tour, where attendees were close together — though outdoors — and not everyone wore masks.

Biden has repeatedly scolded Trump for holding large events where almost all attendees are unmasked.

An outbreak of the coronavirus has since swept through the White House and Trump's orbit and the White House has refused to say when they believe Trump was first infected, beyond saying he tested positive last Thursday night.

“Since the start of the pandemic, our campaign has led by example and prioritized the health and safety of our supporters, our staff and the public in everything that we do,” a Biden spokesman told The New York Times on Sunday. “We take extraordinary measures to ensure we are campaigning safely.”

President Donald Trump (left) and former Vice President Joe Biden at the first debate, in Cleveland
| Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Democratic nominee tested negative for the virus twice on Friday, three days after he had spent 90 minutes on the debate stage with Trump in Cleveland, the Associated Press reported.

Biden similarly has higher risk of suffering severe complications from the virus alongside Trump, given his age and gender.

While the president's infection has underlined the risks of the contagious illness reaching even the highest levels of government, as has happened in other countries, the Biden campaign has grappled with an additional complication because Trump has repeatedly tried to argue Biden is too weak to govern, which Biden laughs off.

The Democratic nominee has long taken extensive precautions about his health surrounding COVID-19.

He and former Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden isolated in their Delaware house throughout the early months of the pandemic, going so far as to not even let the Biden grandchildren come into their home in late March.

Politico reported in September that those safety precautions remained high, as "access to their home is limited to only a few staffers" and anyone entering their Wilmington home wore a mask — including both the candidate and Dr. Biden.

On the campaign trail, Politico reported, the former vice president's lecterns, microphones and even his folders were wiped down with disinfectant.

Speaking to a gaggle of journalists on Monday before boarding a flight, Vice President Biden said he'll “do whatever the experts say” when it comes to meeting a possibly still-infected Trump on Oct. 15 in Miami.

The second debate will likely depend on whether the president is recovered.

“I think we should be very cautious,” Biden told the reporters, as his wife physically pulled him back a few steps from the journalists.

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