Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he has tested negative for COVID-19 days after debating President Donald Trump, who announced early Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
His wife, Jill Biden, also tested negative, their physician confirmed in a statement from the Biden campaign.
In a tweet, the former vice president urged Americans to follow COVID-19 prevention guidelines, which he — unlike Trump — has been seen implementing at campaign events.
Biden was in a room with Trump during Tuesday night’s presidential debate in Cleveland. They were spaced more than 6 feet apart, but both yelled without face masks in an indoor space ― factors that increase the risk of spreading the virus.
Trump said Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive, hours after top Trump aide Hope Hicks was diagnosed with the virus. Hicks had been part of the team traveling with the president for the debate and was seen stepping off Air Force One afterward without a mask. Members of Trump’s family flouted mask-wearing guidelines during the event.
Prior to receiving his test result Friday, Biden expressed his well wishes to the Trumps. Biden campaign officials told several news outlets they had no prior notification from the Trump campaign about the president’s COVID-19 exposure, and learned about Trump’s diagnosis through news reports.
Biden’s campaign has focused on Trump’s failure to protect Americans from the pandemic. The president has for months downplayed the severity of the virus — even as the U.S. death toll topped 200,000, the highest in the world. Trump has pressured states and schools to reopen, spread falsehoods about treatments, held packed campaign rallies and mocked others for wearing face masks.
During Tuesday night’s debate, Biden pointed out that Trump rarely wears a face mask in public. Trump responded by ridiculing Biden for wearing “the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says face masks greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19.
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