Published: Tue, March 24, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

The first one-on-one debate between Biden and Sanders

The first one-on-one debate between Biden and Sanders

Joe Biden smiled and reached his elbow out to touch his rival Bernie Sanders' arm on Sunday, an unusual greeting to start a Democratic presidential debate during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Vice President Biden has no fever, no cough, no shortness of breath or other symptoms consistent with coronavirus, and the campaign has not been informed of or become aware of any relevant contact with an individual who has tested positive", Team Biden said in a statement.

Later on in the debate, Biden continued to cough just a bit.

Sanders said he would always defend his "Medicare for all" proposal for government-provided health insurance, he supports an incremental step for the government to more immediately promise that all testing and treatment costs related to COVID-19 would come free of cost to infected patients. "It is unacceptable for him to be blabbering with unfactual information which is confusing the general public". We can take care of that right now by making sure that no one has to pay for treatment, period, because of the crisis. "We're at war with the virus".

"You can not be less than frank about the nature of the crisis", Sanders said, adding the crisis showed the need for his signature Medicare for All healthcare proposal, which would replace private health insurance with a government-run system. "Although only by a slim margin, Bernie won MI against Hillary in 2016 so I hoped he'd at least do well enough to beat Biden - a candidate whose incompetence is transparent and political history is atrocious", said McMurtry.

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Later in the debate, both Biden and Sanders were in agreement about the additional precautions they were each taking on the campaign trail. His campaign staff has been working from home and Sanders also noted that, "I'm not shaking hands". Biden later said he also believes no one should have to pay.

Biden recounted his experience as vice president in President Barack Obama's administration in dealing with the Ebola outbreak in 2014.

The coronavirus pandemic took precedent at the Democratic debate on Sunday.

The leading Democratic candidates faced off Sunday night in Washington in the 11th debate of the primary season. The event was moved from Arizona, which votes Tuesday, because of concerns over the growing coronavirus pandemic, and is being held without an audience. She and Sanders have been allies on the party's left wing, and many of his supporters called on her to back Sanders as he fights to revive his campaign after moderates coalesced around Biden.

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