A top health adviser to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said that Republican Vice President Mike Pence should quarantine and that upcoming debates should be held virtually going forward after President Donald Trump contracted the coronavirus last week.
In an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace Sunday, Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said that Pence should be quarantined after the vice president said at a campaign rally that he’d met with Trump on Tuesday. Inglesby is one of a handful of health officials Hogan consults for advice on handling Maryland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump tested positive for the coronavirus Thursday and was experiencing symptoms, so Inglesby said that Pence’s meeting with him two days prior was during “a period of time where [Trump] would be presumed to be contagious.”
“And, so in my mind, it seems like the vice president should be in quarantine, even if he is getting tested ... on a daily basis,” Inglesby said.
In addition, Inglesby called for the presidential and vice presidential debates to be held virtually moving forward, adding “if there are presidential debates" with concerns of Trump’s health casting into doubt whether he will be able to participate in upcoming events.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he tested negative for the disease Friday after debating Trump in-person on Tuesday. For Wednesday’s vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City, the Commission on Presidential Debates has agreed to put 12 feet worth of space between Pence and Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, after initially spacing the chairs 7 feet apart, according to Politico.
While the commission has looked to address ongoing concerns about the spread of the virus in the wake of Trump’s infection, Inglesby said the debates could expose Harris and others to the disease.
“And so, in any event, I don’t think it is a proper risk to take, to have [Pence] gathering with Sen. Harris and in-person,” Inglesby said.
The coronavirus advisor also warned that the country is “still in the middle of a dangerous pandemic,” citing still rising daily coronavirus cases in a large swath of the country.
“So I think people need to really continue to take this very seriously, to avoid large gatherings, wear masks [and] physically distance as they have been over time and hopefully in the months ahead, we’ll begin to get vaccines coming online," he said. “But, in the meantime, it’s important to take all the precautions we’ve been taking all along to prevent transmission.”