Second US presidential debate to be virtual, but Trump says he won’t ‘waste’ his time
Trump said Thursday night he hoped to hold election rallies in crucial states of Florida on Saturday and Pennsylvania on Sunday, but advisers said the short notice would make events difficult to organize.
Questions remain as to whether Trump, who announced on October 2 that he had the virus and spent three nights in a military hospital, is still contagious. Trump told Fox News he was likely to be tested for the virus on Friday.
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Trump told conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Friday afternoon that he was working to get anti-coronavirus drugs developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Eli Lilly and Co approved quickly and sent to hospitals after his own experience. .
He might not have recovered without these treatments to fight his illness, he said, adding that his doctors had told him at one point:
“You could have been very bad. You were going through a very bad phase.
Illness has prevented the Republican president from holding public rallies and attending fundraisers at a critical time in the campaign, as he trails Democratic rival Joe Biden in opinion polls within weeks of the November 3 elections.
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White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said the president works hard and is ready to go as soon as he gets his doctor’s approval, telling Fox News: “He wants to talk to the American people and he wants to be there. ”
Trump and his administration have come under fire for their broad handling of the pandemic, as well as a lax approach to mask-wearing and social distancing in the White House and – in recent days – confusing messages about the president’s illness.
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As Trump’s handling of the pandemic dominates the campaign, a new Reuters / Ipsos poll has shown Americans are gradually losing confidence in the way he has handled the health crisis – his clear approval on the issue reaching a new low.
White House doctor Sean Conley said in a memo released Thursday that Trump has completed treatment for COVID-19, has remained stable since returning from Walter Reed medical facility on Monday, and may resume public engagements on Saturday .
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“There are ongoing medical tests that will ensure that when the president returns he will not be able to transmit the virus,” McEnany said, adding that Conley would lay out the details later. “He won’t be there if he can transmit the virus. ”
McEnany is one of a string of aides from Trump, including his campaign manager, who tested positive in a virus outbreak last week as part of the White House and Trump campaign.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease physician, told MSNBC on Thursday that, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control guidelines, a patient is considered infectious for 10 days from onset. symptoms or up to two negative molecular diagnostic tests 24 hours apart.
The White House declined to say when Trump last tested negative for the disease.
Trump was scheduled to do an on-camera interview with Fox News on Friday night, his first since his diagnosis. Being a former reality TV star, Fox said in a press release that Dr. Marc Siegel “will conduct a medical assessment and interview during the program.
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Biden continued to campaign during Trump’s illness, with events scheduled for Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The former vice president, who has sharply criticized Trump’s handling of the pandemic, leads in national polls, but the advantage is more limited in some of the wobbly states that may determine the election outcome.
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The Trump and Biden campaigns quarreled Thursday in a televised debate scheduled for next week. Trump withdrew from the event scheduled for Oct. 15 after the non-partisan debate committee said it would be held virtually, with candidates in separate venues, due to security concerns after Trump contracted COVID -19.
– Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland Additional reporting by Susan Heavey Writing by John Whitesides Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Frances Kerry and Cynthia Osterman