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What If the Candidates Got Sick?

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U.S. President Donald Trump wears a mask while visiting Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S., July 11, 2020. REUTERS/Tasos Katopodis

In the volatile campaign of 2020, what new surprises could reshape the contest in its concluding stages? For instance: what if President Trump or Joe Biden—or both of them—were stricken with COVID-19?  Nearly a dozen White House staffers or Secret Service personnel previously tested positive, and two of the president’s favorite world leaders, the British Prime Minister and the Brazilian president, battled the disease.

Trump is 74, but even in his vulnerable age group, most patients survive without permanent consequences. An energetic fight against the virus could win sympathy and support for the President, removing doubts about his compassion for other victims. For Biden, however, any hint of illness could be devastating: Trump has already made an issue of his opponent’s frailty and age—Biden will be 78 by inauguration day.

For the sake of the Republic, and of common decency, we can only pray both candidates stay healthy till November—and beyond.

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