Next presidential debate to be virtual due to Trump’s COVID-19

Washington: The second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will take place virtually amid the fallout from the president’s diagnosis of COVID-19.

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The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates made the announcement Thursday morning, a week before the two were scheduled to face on in Miami, “in order to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate.” The candidates will “participate from separate remote locations,” while the participants and moderator remain in Miami, the commission said.

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Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus a week ago and but in a Tuesday tweet said he looked forward to debating Biden on stage in Miami, “It will be great!” he tweeted.

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Biden, for his part, said he and Trump “shouldn’t have a debate” as long as the president remains COVID positive.

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Biden told reporters in Pennsylvania that he was “looking forward to being able to debate him” but said “we’re going to have to follow very strict guidelines.'”

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Trump fell ill with the virus last Thursday, just 48 hours after debating Biden in person for the first time in Cleveland. While the two candidates remained a dozen feet apart during the debate, Trump’s infection sparked health concerns for Biden and sent him to undergo multiple COVID-19 tests before returning to the campaign trail.

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Trump was still contagious with the virus when he was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday but his doctors have not provided any detailed update on his status. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 can be contagious for as many as – and should isolate for at least – 10 days.

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