Could Trump have infected Biden with coronavirus at election debate?

Risk is low but possibility exists, says expert


News Desk October 02, 2020
PHOTO: REUTERS

Fears mounted for the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Friday after US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania had tested positive for Covid-19 as both leaders participated in the first presidential election debate just a few days ago.

According to The Week, both leaders did not shake hands and were at "shouting distance" of each other. However, Hope Hicks — Trump close aide — tested negative Wednesday morning but was tested positive when the test was conducted in the evening.

Epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding said that the risk was low. "It entirely depends when Trump got infected," he wrote on his Twitter handle, adding that if Trump just got it from Hope Hicks in two days prior to Wednesday, Trump wouldn’t have been able to transmit to Biden so soon at debate.

"Unless Trump got it much earlier — but then gets tricky."

Trump, 74, was at high risk for the deadly virus both because of his age and because he is considered overweight. He has remained in good health during his time in office but is not known to exercise regularly or to follow a healthy diet.

Trump played down the virus in its early stages and has repeatedly predicted it would go away.

More than 200,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States alone, with the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions especially hard hit.

The president rarely wears a mask and has ridiculed others, including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, for doing so regularly. Health professionals say that face coverings are key to preventing the spread of the virus.

Biden has criticised Trump sharply for his response to the pandemic, while the president has touted his own management of it.

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