Joe Biden tested negative for the coronavirus, his doctor announced Friday, hours after President Donald Trump’s positive coronavirus test drastically altered the nature of the race and underscored the health and political risks of seeking to engage voters in a pandemic.
Biden is traveling to Michigan later in the day, where he was scheduled to hold campaign events. The trip comes after both Biden and others who had recently traveled with him were tested for the virus. In a message posted on Twitter, Biden said the episode offered a reminder to “wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.”
Biden, who refrained from holding in-person events for months as the nation struggled to confront the virus, had only recently — and cautiously — begun to campaign on the ground consistently in key battleground states, amid concerns from local Democrats that he had not been visible enough. Trump held large-scale rallies and often played down the risks of a virus that has killed more than 207,000 people. On Tuesday, the two candidates shared a debate stage in Ohio.
Trump’s diagnosis again pushed the dangers of the virus to the forefront of the campaign with just one month until Election Day and injected new uncertainty into an already extraordinarily volatile race.
Biden, 77, was tested Friday, as were others who attended the presidential debate with him earlier this week, including his wife, Jill Biden. A statement from Biden’s doctor, Kevin O’Connor, said that COVID-19 “was not detected.” The campaign released the statement.
Democrats, in the meantime, urged Biden to continue on the campaign trail.
“This is not a hiatus of the campaign,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., even as he said he expected the campaign to continue to follow “good safety rules.”
As Trump, 74, held packed rallies over the summer and declined to wear a mask consistently, Biden had insisted it was more important to model public health recommendations about social distancing. Amid concerns about the health of both the candidate and his supporters, the Biden campaign was run almost entirely virtually.
In late August, the campaign said Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, would be tested regularly for the coronavirus, and that staff members who interacted with them would also be tested regularly.
Harris was tested on Thursday for the coronavirus and her test was negative, according to a Harris aide.