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Three connected to Biden campaign test positive for COVID-19, Harris suspends travel

AP image - Kamala Harris

Biden not altering campaign schedule.

Posted: Oct 15, 2020 9:03 AM
Updated: Oct 15, 2020 4:32 PM

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — At least three people connected to Joe Biden's presidential campaign have tested positive for the coronavirus, leading the campaign to suspend in-person events for vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris through Monday.

Biden is not altering his public schedule, his campaign said Thursday, because he had no direct exposure to the individuals who tested positive, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s the Biden campaign’s first major coronavirus scare, after months of safety precautions that drew mockery from President Donald Trump, even after he, first lady Melania Trump and others contracted the virus themselves. The Democratic campaign’s cautious reaction underscores the differences in how the rival camps have approached the pandemic, both in terms of preferred government response and in the candidates’ personal protocols.

Biden's campaign announced two positive cases Thursday morning, identifying Harris' communications director Liz Allen and an unnamed member of the flight crew for one of Harris' recent campaign trips. The campaign announced a third case Thursday afternoon as part of its contact tracing efforts from the first two cases.

The third individual is an aviation company employee who was on Biden's plane for trips to Ohio and Florida earlier this week but who entered the back of the plane and sat far away from Biden, according to the campaign.

Harris and Biden, meanwhile, spent several hours campaigning together in Arizona on Oct. 8, when the first two people who tested positive were on a flight with Harris. Both candidates have tested negative for the coronavirus multiple times since then, including on Thursday. Everyone on the Biden campaign plane is required to wear a mask.

Trump, speaking without a mask at a crowded outdoor rally in North Carolina on Thursday afternoon, offered his best wishes to Harris and reiterated his skepticism of wearing masks.

“We worry about her. I'm very concerned about her,” he said, later adding: “Masks, no masks, everything, you can do all you want, but you know, you still need help."

The travel suspension interrupts the Biden campaign’s aggressive push across a wide battleground map, including North Carolina and Ohio, with less than three weeks to go until Election Day.

Harris was set to encourage early voting Thursday in North Carolina. Her Friday trip to Cleveland would have been her first to Ohio as the vice presidential nominee and would have taken her into the metropolitan area with the state’s largest concentration of Black voters.

Harris will continue virtual campaigning, including fundraisers previously scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The senator's brief hiatus from the trail comes as Trump ramps up his own travel after he, the first lady, his campaign manager and several White House staffers contracted the virus.

Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon told reporters Thursday morning that under CDC guidelines, there was no need for the candidates to quarantine, although she said Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, would suspend travel for several days “out of an abundance of caution.”

“Neither of these individuals had any contact with Vice President Biden, with Sen. Harris or any other staff member since testing positive or in the 48-hour period prior to their positive test results,” O'Malley Dillon said.

Harris followed up in a statement saying she'd be “transparent with you about any test results that I do receive. In the meantime, remember: wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands regularly. It is possible to stop the spread.”

O'Malley Dillon announced the third case late Thursday afternoon. She said Biden's medical advisers recommended against a quarantine because of the distance between Biden and the third individual who tested positive.

Harris and Biden spent several hours together on Oct. 8 through multiple campaign stops, private meetings and a joint appearance in front of reporters at an airport. They were masked at all times in public, and aides said they were masked in private, as well, including on all flights.

Biden will attend an ABC News town hall on Thursday airing live at 8 p.m. EDT, and he will proceed with his planned travel Friday and through the weekend.

O'Malley Dillon said all campaign staff members on the Oct. 8 flight have been tested at least twice since then. All tests have been negative, she said.

The campaign became aware of the first two positive tests Wednesday night, O'Malley Dillon said. Harris had opted earlier this week to attend virtually — rather than in person — the Senate Judiciary Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, after some of her GOP Senate colleagues tested positive for the coronavirus or disclosed their exposure to others who had tested positive.

Biden's campaign has taken the coronavirus seriously, drawing mockery from Trump and Republicans, even as the White House deals with the fallout of its virus outbreak.

The Democratic ticket's campaign events are socially distanced and require participants to wear masks. Staff often set chairs inside white plastic circles to denote 6 feet (1.8 meters) of distance. During a recent indoor speech at a North Carolina event for Harris, reporters were given and asked to wear KN95 masks.

Biden and Harris typically keep their masks on when speaking indoors. Both travel on planes with a small number of staff and Secret Service. For Harris' travel, a second plane carries the rest of the staff. For Biden, a second plane carries the traveling press corps.

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Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 612701

Reported Deaths: 7761
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1270801803
Ramsey53350911
Dakota47466477
Anoka43482465
Washington27810296
Stearns22764227
St. Louis18353320
Scott17763139
Wright16615153
Olmsted13587104
Sherburne1218596
Carver1080349
Clay830792
Rice8300112
Blue Earth772844
Crow Wing691799
Kandiyohi673185
Chisago629955
Otter Tail592687
Benton588298
Goodhue487674
Douglas480881
Mower478834
Winona466452
Itasca463968
Isanti447567
McLeod436661
Morrison429562
Beltrami411863
Nobles411750
Steele401819
Polk391372
Becker390057
Lyon366454
Carlton357158
Freeborn353634
Pine338123
Nicollet335145
Mille Lacs316856
Brown309340
Le Sueur301228
Todd289633
Cass289133
Meeker267644
Waseca241823
Martin237633
Roseau212921
Wabasha20883
Hubbard198941
Dodge19173
Renville184246
Redwood178941
Houston176516
Cottonwood168224
Wadena165323
Fillmore160510
Faribault157820
Chippewa154438
Pennington154120
Kanabec148128
Sibley147710
Aitkin140237
Watonwan13629
Rock129919
Jackson123212
Pipestone117326
Yellow Medicine115620
Pope11416
Murray107710
Swift107718
Koochiching96919
Stevens92711
Clearwater89517
Marshall89017
Lake85121
Wilkin84613
Lac qui Parle76222
Big Stone6134
Grant5958
Lincoln5873
Mahnomen5669
Norman5519
Kittson49222
Unassigned49093
Red Lake4037
Traverse3835
Lake of the Woods3504
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 376815

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk59215646
Linn21567342
Scott20530250
Black Hawk16850320
Woodbury15378230
Johnson1479586
Dubuque13627215
Dallas1150699
Pottawattamie11393177
Story1092548
Warren594392
Clinton565894
Cerro Gordo564898
Webster546397
Sioux520574
Muscatine4956106
Marshall493679
Des Moines481776
Jasper454273
Wapello4402124
Buena Vista432340
Plymouth405782
Lee396958
Marion372378
Henry301737
Jones301357
Bremer294663
Carroll287252
Boone273735
Crawford273541
Benton264255
Washington261051
Dickinson251145
Mahaska235151
Jackson225943
Kossuth222166
Clay217927
Tama213872
Delaware213343
Winneshiek201337
Buchanan197834
Page195722
Cedar194323
Hardin192544
Wright191240
Hamilton189251
Fayette188943
Harrison182873
Clayton173258
Butler169135
Madison168019
Floyd165242
Mills164724
Cherokee162238
Lyon161241
Poweshiek159836
Allamakee156452
Hancock154034
Iowa149124
Winnebago147031
Calhoun144813
Cass142155
Grundy139733
Emmet137341
Jefferson135535
Sac133320
Shelby132238
Louisa130749
Union129535
Franklin129223
Appanoose128749
Mitchell127343
Chickasaw126017
Humboldt126026
Guthrie125332
Palo Alto115224
Montgomery106938
Howard105522
Clarke102624
Monroe101533
Keokuk100432
Ida93735
Adair90132
Davis88525
Pocahontas87022
Monona86731
Greene80011
Osceola79517
Lucas78323
Worth7648
Taylor67112
Decatur6649
Fremont64910
Van Buren57318
Ringgold57124
Wayne56623
Audubon53613
Adams3504
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