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trump v biden

Trump eager to return to campaign trail as more aides test positive for Covid-19

Joe Biden has said he shouldn’t debate Trump next week if the president remains Covid-positive.

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has tweeted his eagerness to return to the campaign trail as he continues to make progress in his recovery from Covid-19.

Trump returned to the White House on Monday and continues to recover behind closed doors as more of aides tested positive, including one of his closest advisers Stephen Miller.

Meanwhile, the president declared there would be no action before the election on economic-stimulus legislation – an announcement that came not long after the Federal Reserve chairman said such help was essential for recovery with the nation reeling from the human and economic cost of the pandemic.

Elsewhere, he has decried the US medicines regulator for doing a “political hit job” on him after it made clear that further safety data would be needed before it would approve a Covid-19 vaccine.

As for Trump’s own recovery, his doctor, Navy Commander Sean Conley said in a letter that the president had a “restful” night at the White House and “reports no symptoms”.

Four weeks away from Election Day, and Trump is eager to project strength and tweeted on Tuesday morning that he was planning to attend next week’s debate with Democrat Joe Biden in Miami and “It will be great!”

Biden, for his part, said he and Trump “shouldn’t have a debate” as long as the president remains Covid positive.

Elsewhere in the government, the scope of the outbreak was still being uncovered.

Yesterday, the nation’s top military leaders including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, and the vice chairman, General John Hyten, were in quarantine after exposure to Admiral Charles Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard.

It was not known how Ray contracted the virus, but he attended an event for military families at the White House on 27 September.

Also testing positive yesterday was Miller, a top policy adviser and Trump speechwriter, who has been an architect of the president’s “America First” foreign policy and restrictive immigration measures.

Miller’s wife, Katie Miller, who serves as communications director to Vice President Mike Pence, had the virus earlier this year.

She had been in Salt Lake City with Pence where he is preparing to debate Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, but she left as soon as she found out about her husband’s diagnosis, officials said.

On Monday, Trump made clear that he has little intention of abiding by best containment practices, when he removed his mask before entering the White House after his discharge from Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre.

His attitude alarmed infectious disease experts, and it suggested his own illness had not caused him to rethink his often-cavalier attitude toward the disease which has also infected the first lady and more than a dozen White House aides and associates.

Republican Senator Susan Collins said: “When I saw him on the balcony of the White House, taking off his mask, I couldn’t help but think that he sent the wrong signal, given that he’s infected with Covid-19 and that there are many people in his immediate circle who have the virus.”

The US Food and Drug Administration, meanwhile, published its guidance for issuing emergeny approval for a Covid-19 vaccine yesterday, making it clear it wants to see follow-up two months after trial volunteers have their second dose.

It is therefore unlikely for President Donald Trump’s administration to have a vaccine on the market before the 3 November election, something the president frequently says is on the cards.

Trump expressed his disapproval on Twitter Tuesday night, writing: “New FDA Rules make it more difficult for them to speed up vaccines for approval before Election Day. Just another political hit job!”

The news was welcomed by health experts who said it showed the agency was acting responsibly in the face of political pressure.

With reporting from AFP

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