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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he and President Donald Trump “shouldn’t have a debate” if the president still has COVID-19, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
The next debate between Biden and Trump is scheduled for October 15. Biden said he’s “looking forward to being able to debate” Trump, but said he hopes “all the protocols are followed.”
“Too many people have been infected,” Biden told reporters Tuesday. “It’s a very serious problem, so I will be guided by the guidelines of the Cleveland Clinic and what the docs say is the right thing to do.”
“I think if he still has COVID, then we shouldn’t have a debate,” he added.
In a statement to Reuters, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said: “President Trump will be healthy and will be there. There’s no getting out of this one for Biden, and his protectors in the media can’t cover for him.”
It was revealed early Friday morning that Trump and First lady Melania Trump both tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump stayed at Walter Reed Medical Center for three days to undergo testing and treatment for the virus before returning to the White House on Monday.
A slew of other GOP officials soon followed with a positive diagnosis, including Trump senior advisor Stephen Miller, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Other people who have been in the same proximity with the president over the last few weeks also tested positive. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — who helped Trump prepare for the last presidential debate with Biden — tested positive over the weekend.
Biden was tested multiple times for COVID-19 since Trump’s diagnosis — twice last Friday, once on Sunday, and once on Tuesday — and tested negative all four times.
Vice President Mike Pence and Biden’s running mate Sen. Kamala Harris are set to appear on the debate stage on Wednesday. Plexiglass barriers were installed between the podiums as a health safety measure, though scientists told Business Insider that it probably won’t stop coronavirus aerosols.
Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence have both tested negative for the coronavirus thus far ahead of the planned debate.