What Are Joe Biden And Bernie Sanders Doing To Avoid Getting The Coronavirus?

Community spread of the coronavirus within the United States has thrown a real wrench into the 2020 campaign season. In American politics, campaigning for president requires tons of air travel, massive rallies, and fundraisers with lines out the door of anonymous supporters waiting to press the flesh with their candidate of choice. Elizabeth Warren famously posed for tens of thousands of selfies, or as epidemiologists call it: tens of thousands of opportunities for infection. There's no other way to slice it: the primary season is an absolute nightmare for coronavirus mitigation and control.

Now that the race for the Democratic nomination has settled into a face off between Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE), voters are finally getting a chance to zero in on their choice of standard bearer come November. It's too bad that the zeroing in process should probably include far fewer events and even less actual pressing of flesh. Both Biden and Sanders are advanced septuagenarians (77 and 78, respectively), placing them in a high-risk demographic for serious complications from COVID-19. So what are they doing to protect themselves on the campaign trail?

Both candidates remain cavalier about their own risks

Unlike the germaphobe-in-chief, neither Sanders nor Biden has a reputation for compulsive hygiene. Vice President Biden in particular is a known hugger, ever willing to get up close and personal with his constituents. According to the Washington Post, neither campaign has stalled in response to the spread of COVID-19. Ahead of the March 10th primaries, both Biden and Sanders maintained a schedule that would run guys half their age ragged.

Despite their willingness to travel, both candidates assured the press that they were heeding the advice of professional epidemiologists and their own personal physicians. Sanders, who suffered a heart attack back in October, has reduced hand-to-hand contact with supporters and expressed a willingness to limit appearances in the future should the situation with the coronavirus progress. We're not there yet, though, and until the medical community says otherwise these two 70-somethings are going to keep hitting the trail, and hitting it hard. According to CNN, both campaigns insist that they always consult with local public health officials before they stage a rally. When asked about his own personal safety, Sanders was dismissive. "I'm running for President of the United States," he said. "That requires a lot of work." I guess 78 really is the new 35.