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Biden, Sanders both asked about age in reference to virus risks, but CNN weights the question for one

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Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders were directly asked during CNN’s debate about their personal health and age in light of the coronavirus crisis.

CNN’s Dana Bash directed a question to the two leading Democratic candidates for president about their personal vulnerability to COVID-19 during a round of questions about the pandemic at the top of the debate on Sunday.


(Source: CNN)

“We know people over the age of 60 and those with underlying medical conditions, especially heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are the most vulnerable to coronavirus., and are being asked to change their behavior to protect themselves,” Bash said in the first one-on-one debate of the election.

“So Senator Sanders…you’re 78 years old. You had a heart attack. What are you doing to protect yourself?” she asked the Vermont lawmaker.

“A great deal,” Sanders replied.

“Last night we had a ‘fireside chat,’ not a rally. I love doing rallies and we bring thousands of people out to our rallies. We’re not doing that right now. In fact, our entire staff is working from home,” he added.

“So on a personal level, what we’re doing is, I’m not shaking hands. Joe and I did not shake hands,” referring to how the candidates greeted each other at the outset of the event which had no live audience due to coronavirus concerns.

“And I’m very careful about the people I am interacting acting with. I’m using a lot of soap and hand sanitizers to make sure that I do not get the infection. And I have to say, thank God, right now I do not have any symptoms and I feel very grateful for that,” Sanders concluded.

“Vice president Biden, you’re 77. What are you doing to protect yourself?” Bash asked Biden, though she did not bring up his past health concerns as with Sanders.

“Fortunately I don’t have any of the underlying conditions that you talked about…Number one,” the former vice president, who began his first round of questions with a cough, responded.

“Number two, thank God, for the time being, anything can happen… knock on wood, I’m in good health,” he added, tapping himself on the head.

“Number three, I’m taking all the precautions anyone would take whether they are 30 years old or 60 years old or 80 years old. And that is, I’m going to make sure that I do not shake hands any longer. I do not engage — we did the same thing. Our staff is all working from home. We are not doing rallies. We’re doing virtual rallies and virtual town hall meetings. We’re in a situation where now I do not — when we encounter people, we’re not going into crowds,” Biden continued.

“So I’m taking all the precautions everyone else should be taking. I wash my hands God knows how many times a day with hot water and soap. I carry with me, in my bag outside here, hand sanitizer. I don’t know how many times a day I use that. I make sure I don’t touch my face and so on,” he added.

Although Sanders was asked about his recent heart attack while on the campaign trail, Biden’s two brain aneurysms from 1988 were not brought up. Biden brought up the life-threatening event back in September after a CNN climate town hall where, at one point, his eye appeared to fill with blood.

The then-Delaware senator had to undergo the serious operations to save his life, even while doctors thought he would not fully recover. But the surgeries and his current brain health were not brought up during Sunday’s debate, even while Biden’s infamous gaffes and missteps along the campaign trail have regularly made headlines.

The death toll from coronavirus has risen to more than 6,500 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, Italy saw a dramatic increase in cases, announcing Sunday that 3,590 new cases and 368 deaths occurred in just 24 hours, making it the worst outbreak outside of China where the illness originated.

The European nation has one of the world’s oldest populations, according to the BBC which reported that the Vatican announced its first case of coronavirus on Friday.

“The national health institute said the average age of those who have died was 81, with the majority suffering from underlying health problems. An estimated 72% of all those who have died were men,” the BBC reported. “According to government data, 4.25% of individuals confirmed to have the coronavirus in Italy have died, the highest rate in the world.”

Frieda Powers

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