President Trump’s Positive COVID-19 Test Could Impact VP Debate in SLC
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There is concern President Donald Trump getting infected with coronavirus could impact the only vice presidential debate, which will be held in Salt Lake City next week.
As of Friday, the debate is still happening, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates and the University of Utah.
“The University of Utah remains ready to host the VP debate,” Chris Nelson, University of Utah communications director told KSL-TV in a statement. “Our safety/health protocols are in place and no one will enter the secured perimeter (media filing center and the debate venue) without having had a negative COVID-19 within a day of entering the area.”
NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd told KSL he doubts an in-person debate will happen in the Beehive State.
“The question is, does it happen? I think it has a better chance of happening virtually than it does in person, at this point,” Todd said. “I think there’s a real question as to whether Mike Pence should be traveling right now.”
The 90-minute vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Kingsbury Hall.
Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah said there is a rigorous testing system in place that will deliver results in 12 hours for anyone attending.
“There is no better place to have this debate than the state of Utah right now, particularly when it comes to being tested,” Perry said. “Not only do we have a world-class health facility here with our hospital, but we also have ARUP, which is a reference laboratory, one of the best in the entire world that is doing all the testing for us. This is the place to be we’re leading the way on a normal day, particularly given the debates.”
The vice president’s physician said in a memo that Pence was not considered to have had close contact with anyone infected with COVID-19 and was not required to quarantine. Harris tested negative for the virus on Friday.
The University of Utah has been planning for this debate for a year now and has already had to make many changes because of the pandemic.
The Associated Press contributed to the story.
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