- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 15, 2020

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala D. Harris on Thursday suspended in-person campaigning because two people close to the campaign tested positive for the coronavirus.

She plans to stay off the campaign trail through Sunday.

Neither Ms. Harris nor presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden is believed to be at risk, but the news scrambled plans for the Democratic ticket with less than three weeks to go until Election Day.

Mr. Biden’s campaign said Liz Allen, Ms. Harris’ communications director, and a “non-staff flight crew member” have tested positive for COVID-19.

The campaign also said an administrative staff member for the company that charters Mr. Biden’s plane tested positive Thursday but that the former vice president never came within 50 feet of them and there was no need to self-quarantine.

Ms. Harris said she is not showing symptoms. She tested negative multiple times this week, including on Thursday.

“We wanted to make sure that we were adhering to what has been, I think, a very appropriate and strict level of seriousness around the caution that we are exercising to make sure everyone is safe,” the California senator said at a virtual fundraiser on Thursday.

She also held a virtual event with Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and Democratic Rep. Alma Adams after the news forced her to cancel several in-person events in North Carolina.

She learned of the other people’s positive tests late Wednesday. Neither she nor Mr. Biden tested positive, according to the campaign.

Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris have been critical of President Trump for conduct they deem dangerous during the pandemic, such as not always wearing masks and holding large rallies.

“Obviously, it’s been in stark contrast to you know who,” Ms. Harris said at the fundraiser.

Mr. Trump announced Oct. 2 that he tested positive for the virus and spent several days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as a result. The president has been back on the campaign trail since Monday after his physician said he was no longer at risk of spreading the virus to others.

He wished Ms. Harris and her staff well while campaigning in North Carolina on Thursday.

“We extend our best wishes,” the president said. “Which is more than they did to me, but that’s OK.”

Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris both wished the president well after his diagnosis and the Biden campaign temporarily suspended negative ads.

Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said neither Ms. Allen nor the crew member on Ms. Harris’s plane had contact with Mr. Biden, Ms. Harris, or any other staffers since testing positive or in the 48 hours before their positive test results.

Ms. O’Malley Dillon said both individuals were on a flight with Ms. Harris on Oct. 8 but that they were all wearing masks and the senator was not within six feet of them for more than 15 minutes.

“Our doctors believe that we were not exposed under CDC guidelines,” Ms. Harris said.

Ms. Harris and Mr. Biden campaigned together in Arizona on Oct. 8.Mr. Biden has tested negative for the virus multiple times, including on Thursday, since Mr. Trump disclosed on Oct. 2 that he tested positive, according to the campaign.

Ms. Harris had been scheduled to campaign in Ohio on Friday. She indicated this week that she was also likely to campaign in Pennsylvania and Texas in the coming days.

Ms. Harris, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been participating in the confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett remotely from her Senate office in recent days due to public health concerns.

The Biden campaign is in the process of contact tracing and notifying anyone who might have been in contact with the infected individuals.

During those tracing efforts, the campaign found that the staff member for the company that charters Mr. Biden’s plane tested positive Thursday.

Ms. O’Malley Dillon touted the campaign’s “exceedingly cautious” steps as Mr. Biden tries to contrast his campaign’s approach during the pandemic to Mr. Trump’s.

Democrats are counting on Ms. Harris, the first woman of color to be on a major-party presidential ticket, to help spur Black voters to get to the polls.

Several of her in-person events in North Carolina on Thursday were to be in Charlotte, where an estimated 35% of the population is Black.

Ms. Harris was born in Oakland, California to a Jamaican father and an Indian mother.Dee Stewart, a North Carolina-based Republican strategist, said the senator is welcome to come to the Tar Heel State as much as she wants because the visits would help the GOP.

Mr. Stewart described her as “very intelligent” and “very formidable.”

“But Kamala Harris is very far left and her views are way outside of the mainstream of North Carolina,” he said. “We hope that she comes back very often.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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