At 77 years of age, former Vice President Joe Biden and his campaign are taking great measures to protect his health during the coronavirus pandemic, keeping the Democratic presidential nominee as isolated as possible during his travels.
According to a new report from Politico, Biden’s campaign is fastidious in maintaining the cleanliness of its candidate’s environment, making sure his planes and cars are scrubbed and disinfected before he enters, microphones wiped in advance, and event attendees kept in place using markers to maintain distance.
“There was a ton of effort into how to do it in a Covid-safe way,” Rev. Jonathan Barker, pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wis., said about a meeting with Biden. “They actually had a measuring tape and they were measuring where people could be and using dots to mark the places.”
It was not enough that the people who entered the church had masks; they had to replace the ones they wore with N95 masks given to them before they were led to their seats one at a time.
At events where the press is invited, reporters are screened via temperature checks and instructed where to be positioned to keep their distance.
Should Biden wander outside of his designated zone while engaging with people on the campaign trail, staff members are quick to shout out “Six feet!” or “Keep back!” as they corral him and keep him at a safe distance.
Deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said these safety measures are not just for Biden.
“We don’t want any more Americans to contract the virus,” Bedingfield told Politico. She also said that they set an example for other Americans, in contrast with President Trump, who long resisted wearing a mask and who has held events where crowds gathered without face coverings.
Sunday night, Trump held an indoor event in Nevada with thousands of attendees despite a state order capping indoor gatherings at 50 people.
“What we consistently hear from people is that they’re frustrated by how Trump has engaged over the summer — that he doesn’t follow public health guidelines while they’re not going to funerals and are sharing in the sacrifice for 6-7 months now,” Bedingfield said. “They're frustrated when they see Donald Trump behaving irresponsibly at a political event.”
But these types of precautions are not only present when Biden is venturing out to meet with members of the public. Even among his own staff in his own home, he and others wear masks, despite Biden, running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and close staff taking weekly tests.
The safety precautions sometimes come at the frustration of some of Biden’s supporters.
Terrance Warthen, former co-chair of Our Wisconsin Revolution, took exception to Biden opting to stay in Delaware to deliver his nomination acceptance speech instead of traveling to Milwaukee where the Democratic National Convention was supposed to be held. The event ended up being a virtual convention, with political figures delivering addresses remotely, some recorded in advance.
“He could have had a very safe, and isolated trip,” Warthen told Politico. “That would have been a cherry on top of a decent remote convention.” Warthen went on to question whether Biden was “taking Wisconsin for granted,” noting that the candidate “has the resources” to take the trip and that “it’s the middle of a presidential race.”