Former Vice President Joe Biden, like many Americans, has remained inside his home recently as officials continue to ask people around the country to stay indoors as part of social distancing efforts to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
But Biden, who is the leading candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, is 77 years old. His age puts him in an at-risk group for the virus, which causes the respiratory disease COVID-19.
A Washington Post story published Wednesday shares new details about how Biden has kept his distance from others, including his staff and Secret Service agents, in an effort to avoid the virus amid the health crisis.
According to the article, his grandchildren, who live a mile or so from his house, come over every day — “but they speak to him from the backyard while he sits on the porch.”
Biden’s campaign staff has also worn gloves and masks while interacting with the potential presidential nominee. So have Secret Service agents, who recently began protecting him after run-ins with protesters on the campaign trail in recent months.
Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper this week that he hopes the Democratic National Convention will still take place this summer, as states across the country and the federal government seek to contain and slow the spread of the virus while researchers develop treatments and a vaccine.
The convention is scheduled for July 13-16 in Milwaukee.
MANDEL NGAN/Getty Images Former Vice President Joe Biden
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The virus, which has ground parts of the economy to a halt with employees sent home and many public places closed, has largely put the 2020 presidential campaign on hold just as the Democratic primary race was about to enter its final stretch between Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — the last two remaining candidates vying to face President Donald Trump in the November election.
Biden and Sanders, who is unlikely to overtake the former vice president in the primary race after a string of major losses, met for a unique presidential debate on March 15 in Washington, D.C. The face-off was held without an audience due to concerns about the virus, which is spread by coughing and sneezing.
Both candidates also canceled all upcoming campaign rallies earlier this month and have been left to find creative ways to reach their supporters.
They, like President Trump have utilized virtual campaign rallies, while the Post reports some Democratic insiders have privately urged the former vice president to step up his efforts to reach voters as some in the party have started to question his lack of presence since social distancing efforts began taking place.
“They have to be more creative about the techniques they use in terms of getting him out there and not just rely on speeches,” strategist David Axelrod, a former aide to Barack Obama, told the Post. “And they need to do it well.”
Biden told Tapper on Tuesday that he hasn’t been tested for the virus and medical professionals have told him he has no underlying conditions, other than his age, that would make him more vulnerable to getting the virus.
“I’ve been staying in place, not going out, not gathering at events,” Biden said.
“We’re told we shouldn’t be around our young grandchildren,” he said. “Beau’s children — my deceased son’s children — live about a mile as the crow flies from us. Every day they walk over through the woods and through a neighborhood and they sit out in the backyard and we sit out on the porch and I bribe them with ice cream. We talk about the day and we hang out, but I’m not able to go down and hug them and kiss them like I usually do.”