President Trump and Joe Biden were set to face off in dueling town halls Thursday, and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris canceled campaign travel after an aide tested positive for coronavirus.
As the pandemic continues to rattle the campaign, Ms. Harris suspended all campaign travel through Sunday “out of an abundance of caution,” said Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon. The decision was made after Ms. Harris’s communications director and a non-staff flight crew member tested positive for the virus.
Mr. Biden’s campaign said Ms. Harris was not in close contact with either individual during the two days prior to the positive tests. Ms. O’Malley Dillon said Ms. Harris had twice tested negative for coronavirus since Oct. 8, with her most recent negative test on Wednesday, and was scheduled to be tested again Thursday.
Earlier this month, Mr. Trump was hospitalized after he and several White House and campaign aides tested positive for the virus. Mr. Trump’s physician said in a memo released Monday that he had tested negative on consecutive days.
Mr. Trump’s diagnosis prompted the organizers of the second presidential debate, initially scheduled for Thursday, to change the format to a virtual event. The debate was canceled after the president said he would not participate unless it was held in person.
Mr. Biden instead signed up for a town hall on Thursday evening hosted by ABC News. Days later, NBC News announced it had scheduled a competing town hall with Mr. Trump.
An NBC News spokesman said it programmed Mr. Trump’s town hall opposite Mr. Biden’s because it had given the same slot to the Democratic nominee in a previous town hall and wanted to keep all things equal. But the network has faced both public and internal backlash over its decision, with critics saying the move forced viewers to choose between the two candidates.
Mr. Biden will field questions from voters in Philadelphia, while Mr. Trump will do the same in Miami. Both ABC and NBC said their town halls will follow local public-health guidelines.
A final debate between the two candidates is still expected to take place on Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tenn.
With less than three weeks remaining until the election, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of registered voters found Mr. Biden leading Mr. Trump by 11 points nationally. Recent surveys also show Mr. Biden ahead in several battleground states.
Mr. Trump returned to the campaign trail this week with rallies in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Iowa, while Mr. Biden traveled to Ohio and Florida. The final sprint comes as millions of Americans have already cast their ballots in early voting.
Ms. Harris had been scheduled to