US Vice President Mike Pence continued his campaigning on Sunday despite the outbreak of COVID-19 among his aides, and President Donald Trump claimed progress as the United States set records in daily infections, prompting Democratic rival Joe Biden to accuse Trump of surrendering to the United States. pandemic.
The White House cited Pence’s status as a “key factor” as a justification for campaign travel, despite the revelation of its chief of staff, Mark Short, who tested positive on Saturday.
The White House chief of staff said several of Pence’s aides have tested positive for COVID-19.
The United States in the past two days recorded the largest number of new cases of COVID-19 – about 84,000 on Friday and about 79,900 on Saturday, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. The pandemic, which has killed about 225,000 people in the United States and left millions of Americans unemployed, remains at the top of the presidential race.
With nine days remaining before the November 3 election in which Biden faces the Republican president, more people have already cast their ballots in this year’s presidential election than early or absentee voting in the 2016 race. The start of early in-person voting in major states has increased turnout in the days. Last.
As of Sunday evening, 59,132,524 voters had already cast their ballots, according to the University of Florida US Election Project.
Even as the new Corona virus spreads in many parts of the country, Trump told the gathering: “No country in the world has recovered like we have.
Trump told his supporters in chants, many of them not wearing protective masks or observing the physical distancing: “We are coming, we are approaching the turn, we have the vaccines, we have everything. Even without the vaccines, we are approaching the turn.” Recommendations. “It’s going to end. And you know who got it? I did. Can you believe it?”
While many COVID-19 vaccines are being developed, none of them have been approved for use in the United States.
“We will not control the epidemic. We will control the fact that we have access to vaccines, treatments and other areas of mitigation,” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNN. State of the Union a program.
In a statement from his campaign, Biden took advantage of those comments, saying that Meadows “this morning, amazingly, admitted that the administration has abandoned even trying to control this pandemic, and that they have abandoned their primary duty to protect the American people.”
“This wasn’t a misstep on the part of Meadows, it was an open admission of what President Trump’s strategy has clearly been since the start of this crisis: raising the banner of white defeat and hoping that by ignoring it, the virus will simply disappear,” Biden said.
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The outbreak of the pandemic among Pence aides was the latest case of COVID-19 in the White House, which included Trump, first lady Melania Trump, their son Barron and several aides and aides. The president was hospitalized for three nights this month after contracting COVID-19.
The new infections provided a reminder of the way Trump and his allies have downplayed advice from public health experts to wear masks and adhere to physical distancing guidelines to combat the transmission of COVID-19.
Trump campaigns in Maine
On Sunday, Trump made a surprise visit to an apple orchard near Bangor, Maine, where he was greeted by hundreds of supporters alarmed by a local newspaper about the event.
Maine and Nebraska are the only two states to split their electoral votes. Trump lost Maine in 2016 and trails Biden by 10 percentage points this time, according to opinion polls. But he got one vote from the Electoral College there in 2016, by winning one of two congressional districts.
“The last time we got one section. Let’s get the other section,” Trump told the audience.
Biden did not have his campaign events scheduled for Sunday. It advances in national polls, but the rivalries in states that could decide the outcome seem closer. About 58.8 million voters have already cast their votes.
Meadows told reporters that White House doctors had allowed Pence to travel after Short tested positive. Pence is scheduled to deliver a speech at rallies in Kinston, North Carolina, later on Sunday and in Hibbing, Minnesota, on Monday. Meadows said Pence would continue to campaign and speak at rallies.
A spokesman for the vice president said late on Saturday that Pence and his wife had tested negative.
Asked why Pence had not followed the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for a 14-day quarantine after this exposure, Meadows on Sunday referred to the vice president’s status as a “key employee.”
CDC guidelines state: “To ensure the continuity of essential job operations, the CDC advises that workers in critical infrastructure may be permitted to continue working after potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and are implemented. Extra precautions to protect them and society. ”CDC directives do not mention political campaigns.
Must follow the guidelines
Explaining why the Trump campaign did not require people attending rallies to wear masks, Meadows said that the campaign provided masks to attend, but that “we live in a free society.”
Biden’s colleague, Senator Kamala Harris, took four days of campaigning this month after an aide tested positive for COVID-19.
Speaking in Detroit, Harris criticized Pence for continuing to travel, saying, “He should follow instructions.”
Trump mocked Biden for wearing masks.
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Infectious disease expert Dr. Sandra Nelson of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital said it appears that Pence will be at high risk of infection and transmission.
Nelson said, “With many of his office members testing positive, this would be considered a work-based group. Anytime there is a group like this, I would recommend that the entire office move to remote work for 14 days.”