Oct 7 (Reuters) – Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Kamala Harris will sq. off on Wednesday in their only discussion, as President Donald Trump’s coronavirus analysis and the ongoing pandemic continue on to roil the U.S. presidential contest.

The televised clash will come at a precarious moment for the Trump-Pence re-election marketing campaign, much less than a 7 days right after the president declared he experienced contracted COVID-19 amid a White House outbreak that has contaminated several higher-profile Republicans.

Previous Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, is main Trump in national polls, like an benefit of 12 proportion details in the newest Reuters/Ipsos study of likely voters, with fewer than 4 weeks till the Nov. 3 election.

Late on Tuesday, the two sides ended up nonetheless arguing more than Harris’ ask for for plexiglass limitations on stage to reduce the chance of an infection. CNN noted that a member of the fee that oversees the discussion reported Pence would be permitted to surface with no a barrier, although Harris would have one on her facet of the stage if sought after.

Both of those Pence and Harris, a U.S. senator, tested unfavorable for the coronavirus on Tuesday. Current government pointers simply call for everyone exposed to a person with COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days irrespective of check success.

Pence’s spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

In a assertion, Harris spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said, “If the Trump administration’s war on masks has now become a war on basic safety shields, that tells you anything you have to have to know about why their COVID response is a failure.”

With two septuagenarians at the prime of the ballot, the discussion could get on increased importance than in other yrs, when the vice presidential match-up was mostly witnessed as an afterthought to the presidential debates. Both equally Pence and Harris will request to show that they can move into the Oval Business if essential to lead the nation.

Trump, 74, returned to the White Property on Monday soon after 3 days in a armed service healthcare facility. It is unclear when he will again be capable to marketing campaign. Trump has said he programs to take part in the Oct. 15 presidential discussion.

The pandemic is likely to dominate the proceedings. Biden, 77, and Harris, 55, have manufactured Trump’s managing of the condition the central topic of their marketing campaign, blaming Trump for intentionally downplaying the health threats and failing to endorse mask-carrying.

The 61-yr-aged Pence, who headed up the administration’s coronavirus activity drive, will protect Trump’s reaction to the virus, which has killed 210,000 People and decimated the U.S. financial state even as other rich nations have managed to get the disorder less than handle.

Viewers will have a continual reminder of the pandemic’s influence on daily existence: Pence and Harris will be additional than 12 toes aside on stage at the College of Utah, in addition to the plexiglass barrier

In planning for the discussion, Harris acquired support from former Democratic presidential main rival Pete Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who is familiar with Pence’s past record when he was governor of the condition.

The discussion is unlikely to match the sheer chaos of the initially presidential debate past week, when Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden and the two traded insults. Pence, who at the time hosted a radio show as a congressman, and Harris, a previous prosecutor regarded for sharp questioning in the course of Senate hearings, are both of those witnessed as polished communicators.

A Biden marketing campaign official stated Harris has ready for Pence to attack her as too liberal, echoing Trump’s assertion that the moderate Biden will progress a “radical remaining-wing” agenda if elected. (Reporting by Joseph Ax Enhancing by Colleen Jenkins and Leslie Adler)