Debate-site COVID cases sow doubt on indoor events

Coronavirus outbreak reported after last week's presidential debate in Cleveland.

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October 12, 2020 - 9:44 AM

A woman watches on TV as President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Photo by (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON — A coronavirus outbreak among attendees at last week’s presidential debate in Cleveland — and 11 near-misses from people denied entry because of positive test results — is stoking questions about the safety of convening another in-person session.

The health risks are central to any more go-rounds between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, with the commission overseeing the forums canceling the Thursday event after the Trump campaign balked at a newly proposed virtual format.

Trump and at least five aides and advisers involved in preparing him for the Cleveland debate have been diagnosed with COVID-19, along with 11 construction workers and members of the media who were barred from the site after testing positive.

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