US elections: Biden will attend second debate with Trump if scientists say it’s safe

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Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden said on Monday he is willing to participate in next week’s scheduled debate with President Donald Trump as long as health experts say it would be safe.

Trump is on his fourth day of treatment for the highly contagious COVID-19 at a military hospital outside Washington on Monday, with the severity of his illness still unclear as his medical team weighs whether he can leave the hospital.

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The diagnosis has raised questions about the safety of holding the debates ahead of the Nov. 3 election. The second face-to-face encounter for Biden and Trump, who had their first debate last week, is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami, Florida.

“If the scientists say that it’s safe and the distances are safe, then I think that’s fine. I’ll do whatever the experts say is the appropriate thing to do,” Biden, who tested negative for COVID-19 over the weekend, told reporters in Delaware before heading to Florida on a campaign trip.

Even if discharged, Trump will need to continue treatment as he is still undergoing a five-day course of an intravenous antiviral drug, Remdesivir. The normal quarantine period for anyone testing positive for the novel coronavirus is 14 days.

Trump has frequently played down the threat of the pandemic that has now infected 7.4 million Americans and killed more than 209,000. Biden has criticized Trump for not taking the health concerns seriously enough.

A debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, is still scheduled on Wednesday. They have both tested negative for COVID-19.

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