By Associated Press - Wednesday, October 14, 2020

NEWARK, Del. (AP) - Delaware’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was on center stage when Democratic Gov. John Carney and his Republican challenger faced off in a virtual debate that touched on issues ranging from mail-in voting to gun control.

Republican candidate Julianne Murray argued Tuesday that the governor has overreached since the pandemic hit in March, saying the state’s virus safety measures have had a negative effect on businesses and people, news outlets reported.

Carney pushed back, saying in one of his remarks during the night that the virus is the most pressing issue.

“This is not a partisan political issue,” he said. “It’s a public health issue.”

The two also held opposing views on Delaware’s mask mandate with Murray describing the measure as unnecessary and an infringement on personal liberties, Delaware State News reported. Studies on the coronavirus and other germs show wearing a mask helps stop infected people from spreading disease to others.

Carney defended the mandate during the exchange and said wearing face coverings is “the most important thing people can do to prevent the spread of the virus.”

The republican candidate is representing her husband in a lawsuit filed against the governor over the state’s virus safety restrictions. During Tuesday’s debate, she said the coronavirus was “not fatal.”

“I can’t liken it to the chickenpox, but it’s less deadly than the flu in many circumstances,” she said.

Health officials widely agree that the coronavirus seems to be at least several times more lethal than seasonal flu. At one point, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health told Congress it could be as much as 10 times more lethal.

During exchanges on other issues, Carney repeated his opposition to assault weapons while Murray indicated she would veto gun control measures if elected.

“There are no such things as assault weapons,” she said, according to Delaware News Journal.

She also expressed concerns about the security of mail-in voting while Carney defended the state’s mail-in voting law, saying fears about the ballots comes from President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about mail-in voting.

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