Thursday, 22 Oct 2020

Ex-presidential contender in hospital with coronavirus; Pence cancels rally plan

WASHINGTON • Mr Herman Cain, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, has been diagnosed with the coronavirus and admitted to a hospital in the Atlanta area.

Vice-President Mike Pence postponed a planned trip this week to Arizona after Secret Service agents set to travel with him tested positive for Covid-19 or showed symptoms, two administration officials said on Thursday.

Mr Cain, who was informed on Monday that he had tested positive for the virus, attended last month’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for President Donald Trump, supporting his fellow Republican at an event where many attendees crowded close together without wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Trump Tulsa Rally – I was there! The atmosphere was exciting and inspiring!” Mr Cain wrote on Twitter after the June 20 rally.

He also tweeted a photograph of himself – without a mask – at the rally surrounded by Mr Trump’s supporters also not wearing masks.

Mr Trump’s campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said Mr Cain did not meet the President in Tulsa. He said contact tracing was conducted after the campaign rally, but he could not discuss individual cases.

Mr Cain, 74, had developed symptoms serious enough to require hospitalisation by Wednesday.

“There is no way of knowing for sure how or where Mr Cain contracted the coronavirus,” said a statement on the politician’s Twitter account on Thursday.

Mr Pence cancelled his plan to headline a “Faith in America” campaign rally in Tuscon on Tuesday and then tour Yuma city.

Instead, he opted for a shorter visit to Phoenix on Wednesday, where he participated in a public health briefing at Sky Harbour International Airport.

“Help is on the way,” Mr Pence said at a news conference with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey at the airport, wearing a mask – the latest sign of the administration’s evolving stance on face coverings.

The news of the agents who showed symptoms of Covid-19, or tested positive, was first reported by The Washington Post.

The latest illnesses among the small circle of individuals who interact directly with Mr Pence were a reminder of the dangers of carrying on with campaign and official government travel as the pandemic rages on.


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