The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says he has not yet been tested for the coronavirus, despite mandated testing for Democratic National Convention participants.
Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield appeared on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday with host George Stephanopoulos to discuss how the campaign was protecting the 77-year-old nominee amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“He has not had the virus. We have put in place really strict protocols as I think all of your journalists who attended the convention in Delaware this week saw,” Bedingfield said. “We’ve put in place incredibly strict protocols to ensure that everybody involved who is around Vice President Biden, who is around [California Sen. Kamala Harris] is undergoing the appropriate testing.”
“The vice president has not had the virus,” Bedingfield reiterated. She did not explain how the campaign knew for sure Biden had not had the virus without testing or antibody testing. Though the chance may be slim given his age, Biden could have contracted the virus and beaten it without ever showing symptoms.
“He has not been tested. However, we have put the strictest protocols in place and, moving forward, should he need to be tested, he certainly would be. But he has not been tested yet,” Bedingfield added.
NEW: “He has not been tested; however, we have put the strictest protocols in place,” Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield tells @GStephanopoulos when asked if Joe Biden has been tested for COVID-19. https://t.co/P6iz1jjwYE pic.twitter.com/flY9bWMJ6x
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 23, 2020
The plans for the Democratic National Convention underwent drastic changes in past few months since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, including setting up for a largely virtual convention with no outside audience and moving the bulk of leftover convention activity from Milwaukee, the original site for the convention, to Wilmington, DE, where Biden lives. Biden has largely stayed isolated in his Delaware home since mid-March when states began locking down to slow the spread of the virus.
Convention officials implemented coronavirus testing protocols for the limited number of people allowed to attend the convention. Nurses in a field-testing center set up in a ballroom of the Westin Hotel in Wilmington tested all conference attendees once a day for three consecutive days prior to the convention.
The convention ended on Thursday with Biden accepting the Democratic nomination for president along with Harris, his pick for vice president. The convention’s ratings bombed badly compared to the last presidential election in 2016, according to Nielsen ratings.
On Monday, viewership on the six largest TV networks for the 10 p.m. hour, which was the only hour that NBC, ABC, and CBS carried live, fell about 25% from where it was in 2016. On Tuesday, viewership tanked 48% from where it was four years ago.
The convention also brought controversy to the Biden campaign when convention officials gave former Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour a slot leading one of the event’s auxiliary caucus meetings. Following her appearance, Biden’s campaign condemned Sarsour for her history of anti-Semitic comments and actions.
“Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism his entire life, and he obviously condemns her views and opposes BDS, as does the Democratic platform,” campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said. “She has no role in the Biden campaign whatsoever.”