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Biden, Harris to get regular COVID-19 testing ahead of election

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) take the stage to deliver remarks at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. The pair will be regularly tested for coronavirus as campaigning intensifies in the weeks before the election. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris will be regularly tested for the coronavirus as their in-person campaigning intensifies in the final 10 weeks before Election Day, their campaign said Monday.

The campaign would disclose if either candidate tests positive for the virus and staff members who interact with Biden and Harris will also be tested regularly, a campaign official said.

Biden has repeatedly complained that the Trump administration has not done enough to develop a nationwide testing strategy.

Deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said Sunday on ABC that Biden had not been tested but the campaign has “put the strictest protocols in place.” She added that, “moving forward, should he need to be tested, he certainly would be.”

Bedingfield also said that Biden “has not had the virus.”

Biden has campaigned cautiously under the advice of health experts and Delaware’s coronavirus rules, appearing in person about once a week. He wears masks and practices social distancing — though he did grab Harris’ hand last week after his nomination acceptance speech.

“For the entirety of this outbreak, Joe Biden has lived his values, modeling and strongly encouraging responsible behavior to keep Americans safe while proposing the kind of desperately needed national strategy for defeating this pandemic that Donald Trump still has not provided,” campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement.

“This announcement is another step demonstrating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s commitment to turn the page on Trump’s catastrophic mismanagement during the worst public health crisis in 100 years,” Bates said.

The small pools of press attending Biden’s events have had their temperatures taken, been questioned about their symptoms, worn masks and sat inside 6-foot circles to guard against transmission of the virus. Last week, all staff members and journalists planning to enter the building where Biden and Harris spoke were required to be tested and faced temperature checks and a questionnaire on behavior and symptoms.

Biden and his team have faced repeated questions about whether he’s been tested. He ignored a shouted question about it last week as he left his nomination acceptance speech in Wilmington, Delaware. Campaign aides also declined to answer the same question during a press briefing last week.

Trump, White House staff and journalists in the press pool are all regularly tested for the virus. Trump also took what he described as a prophylactic round of hydroxychloroquine, the controversial medication that he’s pushed as a COVID-19 treatment.


© 2020 Bloomberg News

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