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Biden says Trump shouldn’t debate if he still has COVID-19

Donald Trump in Phoenix, Ariz. in Feb. 2020. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr) | Joe Biden in Altoona, Iowa in Aug. 2019. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Democratic nominee Joe Biden said Tuesday that he and Donald Trump should scrap their next debate if the president is still infected with the coronavirus.

“I think if he still has COVID we shouldn’t have a debate,” Biden told reporters on his way back from a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.

Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday, and the next debate is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami, 13 days after the diagnosis.

“I’m looking forward to being able to debate him, but I just hope all the protocols are followed that are necessary at the time,” Biden said.

Biden said that future debates should follow “very strict guidelines” and that he’ll follow those rules and the advice of his doctors “if and when” Trump “shows up for a debate.”

Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday and declared victory over the virus. “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” he said in one tweet. He went to the hospital last Friday.

Guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that people with mild to moderate cases remain infectious as long as 10 days after the onset of symptoms.

In a tweet Tuesday morning, the president indicated that he wouldn’t try to reschedule the debate despite his recent illness.

“I am looking forward to the debate on the evening of Thursday, October 15th in Miami,” he wrote. “It will be great.”

Biden said Monday that he hoped the lesson from Trump’s experience wouldn’t be to downplay the threat of the virus.

“I hope no one walks away with the message that it’s not a problem. It’s a serious problem. It’s an international pandemic,” Biden said during a town hall in Miami hosted by NBC News.

His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and Vice President Mike Pence are to have their own debate at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night.


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