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Biden says will not hold campaign rallies due to pandemic

Updated: 2020-07-01 10:12

Reporters practice social distancing as Democratic US presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, US, June 30, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

WILMINGTON, United States - US Democrat Joe Biden said Tuesday he will not hold presidential campaign rallies during the coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented declaration that stands in stark contrast with Donald Trump who has already held large campaign gatherings.

Biden also ramped up his criticism of the president's handling of the pandemic, saying Trump had "failed" the American people and "waved the white flag" of surrender in the fight against the coronavirus.

"This is the most unusual campaign I think in modern history," the former vice president said in Delaware at his first press conference since securing his party's presidential nomination nearly four weeks ago.

"I'm going to follow the doc's orders -- not just for me but for the country -- and that means that I am not going to be holding rallies," said Biden, adding he has not yet been tested for COVID-19.

Biden, 77, was likely referring colloquially to government guidelines that urge Americans to not to attend large gatherings, rather than a personal physician's advice.

He did not say whether his decision could change if conditions improve in the coming months.

If he avoid rallies altogether until election day on November 3, it would be an extraordinary move for a modern American presidential candidate, as campaigns are often gauged by the strength of their public messaging and enthusiasm.

The announcement comes amid growing alarm about America's inability to contain a crisis which has already killed more than 127,000 people nationwide.

Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci warned Congress Tuesday that daily infections could more than double to 100,000 without a sufficiently robust response.


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