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Pence, Harris test negative for COVID-19 ahead of debate

Pence, Harris test negative for COVID-19 ahead of debate
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Vice President Pence tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday, hours before he squares off with Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden announces all-female White House communications team Biden to nominate Neera Tanden, Cecilia Rouse to economic team: WSJ Memo to Biden: Go big — use the moment to not only rebuild but to rebuild differently MORE (D-Calif.) in the lone vice presidential debate.

The vice president and second lady both tested negative, a White House official confirmed. Both have gotten back negative tests each day since President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE shared on Friday that he and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony MORE had contracted the highly contagious virus.

Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, also tested negative prior to the debate, the campaign said.

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The negative tests clear the way for Wednesday's debate in Utah, which has come under intense scrutiny as the White House grapples with a COVID-19 outbreak among high-level staffers. In addition to the president and the first lady, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and four of her deputies have tested positive, as have senior advisers Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksWomen set to take key roles in Biden administration President says Trump Jr. doing 'very well' after COVID-19 diagnosis Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for COVID-19 MORE and Stephen MillerStephen MillerPresident says Trump Jr. doing 'very well' after COVID-19 diagnosis Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for COVID-19 Giuliani's son, a White House staffer, tests positive for coronavirus MORE.

Miller's wife, Katie Miller, is Pence's communications director. She traveled with him to Utah, but returned home to Florida on Tuesday to stay with her family out of an abundance of caution. Katie Miller contracted the virus in May and has since recovered.

Pence's proximity to the infected individuals has raised concerns about whether it is safe to go forward with Wednesday's debate in person. The vice president's office has insisted Pence is not at risk, issuing a letter on Tuesday night signed by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vouching for his ability to safely participate.

CDC Director Robert Redfield wrote that Pence is not considered a close contact with any of the people who have tested positive in the last week.

Harris and Pence will be separated by more than 12 feet of distance, with two plexiglass barriers between them. Photos of the barriers drew mockery on social media, as journalists and health experts noted that the virus could easily travel over or around the barriers if anyone in the room is infected.