The main topic for debate during Sunday’s face-off between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was the coronavirus pandemic sweeping through the United States.
And the theme was clear.
According to both 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, President Donald Trump was not doing a good enough job of handling the crisis.
But Biden could not make it out of his first answer of the debate without breaking one of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hygiene guidelines for protecting others from the spread of the virus.
“What do you say to the American people who are confronting this new reality,” CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked.
Biden coughed within the first few seconds of his answer.
“First of all, my heart goes out to those,” he said, before coughing, “who have already lost someone.”
Notably, Biden covered his face with his hand while he coughed, which goes against CDC hygiene guidelines.
“Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow,” the CDC’s website reads.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 16, 2020
CNN and Univison, which hosted the debate, took a number of health precautions in response to concerns over the coronavirus.
For instance, the debate itself was moved from Phoenix to a studio in Washington, D.C.
biden’s dry cough is not very reassuring #DemocraticDebate
— Mey Rude (@meyrude) March 16, 2020
There was no live audience for the debate, and Biden and Sanders’ podiums were placed six feet from each other.
Joe Biden repeating what Bernie says in between coughs is definitely a “mood”
— Mitra Jouhari (@tweetrajouhari) March 16, 2020
“Hand sanitizer, and lots of it, is readily available: inside the studio, in the green rooms where candidates and their aides relax before the broadcast, and beside the moderators’ desk,” The New York Times reported.
The CDC also advises that if you cough or sneeze: “Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.”
— DanielleMoodie-Mills (@DeeTwoCents) March 16, 2020
Biden actually coughed several times, and it did not appear as though he washed his hands or used hand sanitizer in the immediate aftermath of any of those instances.
Biden did say later in the debate that he has been carrying hand sanitizer around with him.
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