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CDC Says It's Safe for Pence to Debate

He's 'not a close contact of any known persons with COVID-19'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2020 7:34 PM CDT

(Newser) – Vice President Mike Pence will not pose a major health risk to people who get near him at Wednesday night's vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield. In a memo released by Pence's office Tuesday evening, Redfield said the CDC has determined that it is safe for Pence to debate Sen. Kamala Harris, despite the coronavirus outbreak at the White House, the Hill reports. Redfield wrote that after consulting White House physician Dr. Jesse Shonau on the vice president's recent movements, the CDC determined that Pence "is not a close contact of any known persons with COVID-19, including the President." Pence has tested negative for the virus and is retested daily.

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The Trump-Pence and Biden-Harris campaigns, meanwhile, are still at odds over the use of plexiglass dividers as an extra health measure at the University of Utah debate, reports the Washington Post. The Harris team's request to have dividers in place has been granted, but Pence's team suggested Tuesday that they do not want a divider around the vice president, whether Harris has one or not. "It's not needed," said Marc Short, Pence's chief of staff.  Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates fired back: "It's not needed' is the latest iteration of 'it is what it is,' another example of the Trump administration’s abdication of leadership when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic," Bates said. The candidates will be seated at tables 13 feet apart. The Pence team has rejected the Harris team's request for the candidates to be standing. (Read more vice presidential debate stories.)

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