Biden faces health questions after Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis

Courtesy+of+Michael+Stokes+Via+Wikimedia+Commons

Courtesy of Michael Stokes Via Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis left many questioning former Vice President Joe Biden’s health, as both had shared the debate stage a few days before Trump tested positive. 

It has been reported that the Biden campaign has made a meticulous effort to ensure that staffers and Biden stay healthy. Campaign staffers and supporters wear masks at all events and must report their temperatures daily, according to Politico. Despite this, there were concerns that Biden could have contracted COVID-19 from Trump at the debate. 

According to a statement from Biden’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, both Biden and his wife Jill tested negative for the virus. The test results were released via a statement posted on Biden’s campaign website on Oct 2.

Later that day, Biden was back on the campaign trail with a scheduled stop in Grand Rapids, Mich.. The campaign emphasized that Trump’s diagnosis was not an opportunity to attack the administration, but instead, demonstrated how the pandemic is still a serious threat.

“This is not a matter of politics,” Biden said during the Michigan campaign stop. “It’s a bracing reminder to all of us we need to take this virus seriously. It’s not going away automatically.”

Biden also spoke on the importance of implementing a national testing plan. 

“The seriousness of this virus also underscores how we need regular testing with results turned around rapidly and available to everyone,” Biden said. “Every single American deserves safety and peace of mind.”

Biden offered condolences to Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, after their positive tests were announced on Oct 2.

“Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery,” Biden said in a tweet. “We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.”

Trump’s diagnosis has reignited the conversation around the importance of wearing masks. The President made fun of Biden for wearing a mask during their first debate, just days before he announced that he had tested positive for the virus. 

“Every time you see [Biden], he’s got a mask,” Trump said at the debate. “He could be speaking 200 feet away from them and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

It was also reported that members of the First Family who attended the debate did not wear masks, which violated the rules set by the debate commission. Debate moderator Chris Wallace told Fox News that they were offered masks by an official from Cleveland Clinic, which co-hosted the debate, but “they waved them away,” according to Wallace.

U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (D, OH-13) attended the debate with the Biden campaign and spoke about the mask issue in an interview with Politico.

“The fact is that Biden was responsible and Trump made fun of him for it,” Ryan said. “Biden should keep doing what he’s doing, especially if your opponent can’t go out and you can because you did it right.”

Biden has kept from attacking Trump over his positive test and reports that the Trump family refused to wear masks at the debate. After returning to the campaign trail, Biden instead spoke about the importance of unity over divisiveness during a speech in Gettysburg, Pa.

“Instead of treating the other party as the opposition, we treat them as the enemy,” Biden said. “This must end. We need to revive a spirit of bipartisanship in this country, a spirit of being able to work with one another.”