Joe Biden tests negative for coronavirus after potential exposure to Trump

Democratic nominee Joe Biden has tested negative for the coronavirus, hours after President Donald Trump had revealed he tested positive.

“Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected. I am reporting this out in my capacity as both Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden’s primary care physician,” said Dr. Kevin O’Connor.

Biden also tweeted about the negative result.

The Biden campaign said the former vice president and his wife, Jill Biden, were both tested Friday morning out of an abundance of caution.

One negative test after potential exposure to the virus is not enough, however, to guarantee that a person hasn’t contracted Covid-19, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota.

“All the people who said they were at the debate or at the rally here in Minnesota, or at a fundraiser here in Minnesota this week, none of those tests really are that meaningful to me yet by saying they’re negative,” Osterholm said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.” 

Once a person is exposed, he added, it could be up to 14 days before they exhibit signs or symptoms of infection. “Most of the people will be showing signs of illness if they’re going to get ill and be positive by testing at 7 or 8 days.”

During the presidential debate Tuesday in Cleveland, Biden was in the same room as Trump was for nearly two hours on stage.

Neither man wore a mask on stage, nor did debate moderator Chris Wallace. But Trump and Biden’s podiums were placed approximately 8 ft. apart, and they didn’t get close to one another. The Centers for Disease Control’s current guidance for social distancing is 6 ft.

After receiving his negative test result on Friday morning, Biden decided to proceed with a scheduled campaign trip to Michigan later in the day.

Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris left Washington at midday bound for Las Vegas, where she has an event later today.

Harris was tested for Covid-19 on Thursday, and she tested negative, campaign aides said. She also tested negative Friday.

Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez, who attended the debate with Biden, also tested negative on Friday, a spokeswoman said.

Both Biden and Harris sent best wishes to the president and first lady on Friday.

On Friday morning, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon sent an email to staff assuring them that the campaign was taking every health precaution to protect Biden, Harris and their families. She also asked them not to post on social media about Trump’s diagnosis without prior approval.

The email, which was obtained by NBC News, underscores the political sensitivity of the president’s diagnosis in the context of the presidential race.

During Tuesday’s debate, Trump mocked Biden for wearing a mask, which the CDC recommends as a key element of preventing infection.

“I don’t wear face masks like him,” Trump said of Biden. “Every time you see him he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away … and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

Trump also mocked Biden for not holding large rallies the way Trump has been doing since late August.

Trump was experiencing mild symptoms Friday, according to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Many, if not most, of the people at Trump’s rallies are squeezed closely together and not wearing masks. Several of them have been held in defiance of state and municipal orders that prohibit large gatherings.

Biden, meanwhile, has strictly enforced social distancing, masks and crowd limits at his events. As a result, his campaign events have featured chairs spaced far apart and typically just a few dozen people.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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