The Democratic vice presidential nominee will pause in-person campaigning until Monday

By Virginia Chamlee
October 15, 2020 11:47 AM
Advertisement

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is pausing campaign travel amid news that two people associated with the campaign, including a top aide, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a statement released Thursday, Joe Biden's campaign identified the two individuals as "a non-staff flight crew member and Liz Allen, communications director to Senator Harris."

The statement, from Biden's campaign manager, Jen O'Malley Dillon, said that Harris, 55, "was not in close contact, as defined by the CDC, with either of these individuals during the two days prior to their positive tests; as such, there is no requirement for quarantine."

"Regardless, out of an abundance of caution and in line with our campaign’s commitment to the highest levels of precaution, we are canceling Senator Harris’s travel through Sunday," Dillon said, adding that Harris "will keep a robust and aggressive schedule of virtual campaign activities to reach voters all across the country during this time."

Neither of the people infected had been in contact with Biden or Harris "since testing positive or in the 48 hours prior to their positive test results," according to the statement.

Harris is slated to return to in-person campaigning on Monday, Dillon said.

The statement added that Harris' husband, Doug Emhoff, would also put his in-person campaign activities on hold for Thursday, resuming Friday.

The campaign said that both Harris and Emhoff had repeatedly tested negative for the virus since Oct. 8. Harris’ most recent test was Wednesday.

Dillon said in her statement that the steps taken with these new infections are in line with “the sort of conduct we have continuously modeled in this campaign.” That echoes Biden's central argument that he and Harris — and not President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence — are best equipped to tackle the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 people in the U.S. 

While the president has eschewed the face masks and social distancing recommended by health experts, the Biden campaign has instead avoided large campaign events and enforced such precautions — while Trump derides him for a lack of enthusiasm from his supporters. 

In response to criticism of his handling of the pandemic, Trump has often touted his early decisions to restrict some international travel and his support of vaccine development and medical supply chains for the states.

Since the start of the pandemic, the virus has reached numerous politicians around the world.

The White House has been grappling with its own recent outbreak: More than a dozen people with ties to the Trump administration tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks — in news that has trickled out in bits and pieces, and in some cases has been broken by the media rather than released by the White House itself.

Trump and his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, said they had tested positive in the early morning hours of Oct. 2. That announcement came shortly after Bloomberg News first reported that top Trump aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the virus.

The ultimate source of these infections remains unclear, though many of those sickened were in attendance at a large Sept. 26 event at the White House, a Sept. 27 reception or during prep ahead of the Sept. 29 presidential debate. 

In all of those cases, few masks were worn and attendees were in close physical proximity for an extended period of time.

President Trump was hospitalized for three days following his positive test but has since said that he is feeling "really good," and his doctors have said he is no longer contagious.

Even as he resumed making in-person campaign appearances, Trump initially demurred when asked if he had tested negative for the virus, raising the possibility that he was still contagious.

On Oct. 12, however, White House physician Sean Conley said Trump had tested negative on consecutive days, just before he headed to a large campaign rally in Florida.