Baltimore Sun

Har­ris sus­pends travel with top aide pos­i­tive for virus

VP nom­i­nee, Bi­den test neg­a­tive sev­eral times af­ter Ariz. trip

- By Bill Bar­row U.S. News · US Politics · Politics · Elections · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Delaware · Kamala Harris · Joe Biden · Joe · Arizona · Donald Trump · Melania Trump · North Carolina · Ohio · Democratic Party (United States) · Cleveland · U.S. Supreme Court · Amy Coney Barrett · Republican Party (United States) · Wilmington, OH

WILM­ING­TON, Del. — Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris, the Demo­cratic vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, will suspend in-per­son events un­til Mon­day af­ter two peo­ple as­so­ci­ated with the cam­paign tested pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus.

Joe Bi­den’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign said Thurs­day that Bi­den had no ex­po­sure, though he and Har­ris spent sev­eral hours cam­paign­ing to­gether in Ari­zona on Oct. 8, when­the two peo­ple were on a flight with Har­ris. Both can­di­dates have tested neg­a­tive for COVID-19 mul­ti­ple times since then, and Bi­den’s cam­paign said he tested neg­a­tive again on Thurs­day.

It’s the Bi­den cam­paign’s first ma­jor coro­n­avirus scare, af­ter months of care­ful health pro­ce­dures that brought mock­ery from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, even af­ter a White House virus out­break that in­cluded the pres­i­dent and first lady Me­la­nia Trump.

The Demo­cratic cam­paign’s cau­tious re­ac­tion un­der­scores again the dif­fer­ences in how the ri­val camps have ap­proached the pan­demic, both in terms of pre­ferred gov­ern­ment re­sponse and the can­di­dates’ per­sonal pro­to­cols.

Trump, speak­ing with­out a mask Thurs­day af­ter­noon at a crowded out­door rally in North Carolina, 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, the next two states Har­ris was sched­uled to visit.

The cam­paign sees Har­ris — the first wo­man of color on a ma­jor party pres­i­den­tial ticket — as a key part of its out­reach in North Carolina, where in­creas­ing Black turnout is key to the Democrats’ hopes of flip­ping the state. She had been sched­uled to travel to the state Thurs­day for events en­cour­ag­ing vot­ers to cast early bal­lots.

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.

The Bi­den cam­paign told re­porters Thurs­day morn­ing that Har­ris’ com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor, Liz Allen, and a flight crew mem­ber tested pos­i­tive af­ter the re­cent cam­paign trip to the South­west. Cam­paign man­ager Jen O’Mal­ley Dil­lon said both tested neg­a­tive be­fore and af­ter Har­ris’ trav­els. Their pos­i­tive re­sults came in sub­se­quent tests.

“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, adding that un­der CDC guide­lines there was no need for quar­an­tin­ing.

But O’Mal­ley Dil­lon said Har­ris would suspend travel for sev­eral days “out of an abun­dance of cau­tion.”

The cam­paign also is can­cel­ing up­com­ing travel for Doug Emhoff, Har­ris’ hus­band.

Har­ris fol­lowed up in a state­ment say­ing that “both the crew mem­ber and the staff mem­ber were wear­ing N95 masks at all points they were near me, and our doc­tors be­lieve that wewere not ex­posed un­der CDC guide­lines.”

She also pledged to 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.”

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

Har­ris and Bi­den spent sev­eral hours to­gether Oct. 8 through mul­ti­ple cam­paign stops, pri­vate meet­ings and a joint ap­pear­ance be­fore 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.

Har­ris has had two tests since then, most recently on Wed­nes­day, O’Mal­ley Dil­lon said.

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 pos­i­tive tests Wed­nes­day night, O’Mal­ley Dil­lon said.

Har­ris al­ready this week had opted to at­tend vir­tu­ally t he Se­nate Ju­di­ciary

Supreme Court con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings for Amy Coney Bar­rett, rather than in per­son af­ter some of her GOP Se­nate col­leagues tested pos­i­tive for coro­n­avirus or dis­closed their ex­po­sure to oth­ers who had tested pos­i­tive.

Bi­den and Har­ris 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.

 ?? CAROLYN KASTER/AP ?? Demo­cratic vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Ka­mala Har­ris was to appear in North Carolina and Ohio be­fore it was an­nounced a com­mu­ni­ca­tions staffer tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19.
CAROLYN KASTER/AP Demo­cratic vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Ka­mala Har­ris was to appear in North Carolina and Ohio be­fore it was an­nounced a com­mu­ni­ca­tions staffer tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19.

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