Harris has not been in close contact recently with either communications director Liz Allen or the other person who tested positive, a flight crew member who is not a campaign staff member, aides said.
Former vice president Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, also has not been in contact with those affected, according to a statement from campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon. Biden is proceeding with a televised town hall event in Pennsylvania on Thursday night as planned.
“Out of an abundance of caution and in line with our campaign’s commitment to the highest levels of precaution, we are canceling Senator Harris’s travel through Sunday,” O’Malley Dillon said, but “she will keep a robust and aggressive schedule of virtual campaign activities to reach voters all across the country during this time.”
The announcement was the latest development to jolt already unprecedented campaign, as the Democratic running mate will now join President Trump in having been sidelined from the campaign trail for at least a short period during the final stretch of the race.
The results could muddy the Biden campaign’s message that Trump’s recent coronavirus infection, along with that of several people in his close orbit, is a direct result of his reckless disregard for public health recommendations.
But the Biden campaign was at pains Thursday to draw a distinction between its behavior and that of Trump and his team. The Biden campaign immediately revealed who tested positive and when, disclosed details of Harris’s last negative test and immediately announced contact tracing — all at variance from the approach of the White House after Trump’s diagnosis.
“This is the sort of conduct we have continuously modeled in this campaign,” O’Malley Dillon said, regarding the suspension of Harris’s travel.
Harris had been scheduled for a trip to North Carolina on Thursday, Ohio on Friday, Pennsylvania on Saturday and Texas on Sunday — the start of an all-out travel blitz for the vice-presidential nominee who previously was traveling sporadically since joining the ticket in August. As of midmorning, Harris was still scheduled to participate in two virtual fundraising events Thursday afternoon.
“I will be transparent with you about any test results that I do receive,” the senator tweeted. “In the meantime, remember: wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands regularly. It is possible to stop the spread.”
The campaign’s statement said Allen and a nonstaff flight crew member took time off to attend personal events in the past week, and were tested before returning to work, in accordance with campaign policy.
It also said both were on a flight with Harris last Thursday, a day she spent campaigning with Biden in Arizona. The campaign said that Harris and the two people wore N95 masks on that flight, and that “she was not within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes with either of them.”
“As such, she does not meet the CDC definition of ‘close contact’ for exposure,” O’Malley Dillon wrote. Both people tested negative directly before and after