WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tested negative for the novel coronavirus on Sunday, according to his campaign, his third negative test since he shared a debate stage for more than 90 minutes with President Donald Trump, who has been hospitalized with covid-19, the disease it causes.
“Vice President Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected,” according to a statement the campaign issued to reporters at 7:16 p.m.
Biden’s campaign has said he is regularly tested for the coronavirus, but his operation has not previously been providing details about how often he gets tested or what type of test is used. Campaign officials had said they would only release results if Biden tested positive.
The campaign reversed Saturday evening and announced that it will release the results of every coronavirus test. Biden told reporters Saturday that he planned to take a test on Sunday morning. Biden is set to travel to Florida on Monday for an NBC town hall.
Speaking to CNN on Sunday morning, senior campaign adviser Symone Sanders declined to say why Biden is not being tested daily. “We are being tested regularly,” Sanders said.
The former vice president took two coronavirus tests on Friday morning after news that Trump had a positive test for the virus, then he traveled to Michigan for a scheduled campaign trip.
Biden stood about 13 feet from Trump during the debate, and neither of them wore a mask for the exchange. Biden’s team has said that, after consulting with physicians, it does not believe that Biden was in close contact with Trump, which would prompt self-quarantine.
“There certainly will be people who wonder if this was close contact or not,” a medical expert advising the Biden campaign, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly, told The Washington Post on Saturday. “Recognizing that no rules are right 100% of the time, and not everyone will always agree, in this case the vice president was really following the best of the public health guidance.”
Speaking to Michigan station WOOD-TV on Friday, Biden said his last test had been “three days earlier.”
“We did [one] this morning,” he said Friday to the TV station. “I did to be sure, because I had just taken a test three days earlier or whatever it was and I tested positive – tested negative – in this test I took.”
He offered additional detail about the two tests he took Friday morning, saying one was performed by “a local hospital in Delaware.” The other one, he said, was given to him by a former White House physician “who came up to give me the test,” Biden said. “And thank God my wife and I are negative.”