(Reuters) – Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, will be tested regularly for COVID-19, an aide said on Monday, as the campaign prepares for the possibility of more public events in the run-up to November’s election.
Since the coronavirus began spreading widely in the United States in March, Biden has done few public events, most of them close to his Delaware home.
But following his formal nomination at last week’s Democratic National Convention, the campaign is expanding its health protocols in a new phase of the race that could see the former vice president in closer proximity to the public.
“Consistent with the transparency Vice President Biden has demonstrated, we will make public if either the Vice President or Senator Harris ever has a confirmed, positive case of COVID-19,” a campaign aide told Reuters.
The aide said Biden, 77, Harris, 55, and key staff who interact with them would be tested “on a regular basis,” in line with the advice of medical advisers.
“This is what responsible leadership looks like,” the person said.
Reporters have frequently asked Biden whether he has been tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and he has always answered no.
He has criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of the virus, which has killed more than 176,000 Americans, as disastrous.
During campaign appearances, many broadcast online, Biden consistently wears masks and maintains distance to show his adherence to public health guidelines.
By contrast, Trump, 74, who will face Biden in the Nov. 3 election, downplayed the virus in its early stages, once referred to mask-wearing as politically correct and has been reluctant to wear a face covering himself.
Trump in July wore a mask in public for the first time during the pandemic, a shift in his tone to encourage Americans to wear them as the country began to see a resurgence of cases.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Michael Martina; Editing by Peter Cooney)