Oct 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Harris pauses campaign travel after aide tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) will pause her travel through Sunday after her communications director tested positive for the coronavirus, the Biden campaign announced Thursday.

The state of play: The campaign said that the vice presidential nominee, who tested negative for the virus on Wednesday, was "not in close contact" with the aide, Liz Allen, under CDC guidelines. She will still pause her travel "out of an abundance of caution and in line with [the] campaign's commitment to the highest levels of precaution," the campaign said.

  • An administrative member of the aviation company that charters Joe Biden's plane has also tested positive for COVID-19, though he was "not in close contact as defined by the CDC, with this individual at any time," Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon said Thursday afternoon. The individual traveled with the former VP on Monday and Tuesday to Ohio and Florida, respectively.
  • Another non-campaign staff flight crew member also tested positive.
  • O'Malley Dillon said that Harris will return to the trail by Monday, Oct. 19 — but maintain "a robust and aggressive schedule of virtual campaign activities" until then.
  • The campaign is also suspending travel for Doug Emhoff, Harris' husband.

The big picture: The former vice president still plans to go ahead with his ABC town hall on Thursday evening, scheduled in lieu of a second presidential debate.

What they're saying: The Biden campaign released a detailed account of Harris' time around the two before their diagnoses.

  • "Prior to their time off, both individuals were on a flight with Senator Harris on Oct. 8. During the flight, Senator Harris wore an N95 mask, as did both individuals. She was not within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes with either of them. As such, she does not meet the CDC definition of 'close contact' for exposure. In addition, both before and after the flight both individuals tested negative."
  • "In the course of our campaign’s routine testing protocols, Senator Harris has taken 2 PCR tests since October 8th, and the tests all have been negative, most recently on Wednesday, October 14th."
  • "All other members of our staff on the flight have also taken routine tests since October 8th (two to three PCRs each); all of these tests have also been negative."

The bottom line: The Biden campaign's transparency on the issue is in stark contrast to the Trump administration's handling of the White House coronavirus outbreak that infected President Trump. The White House has still refused to answer when the president's last negative test was before his diagnosis.

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