00:15 GMT31 October 2020
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (229)
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    Following news the US president had contracted the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden sent Donald Trump his best wishes from the campaign trail. Biden, three years Trump's elder, tested negative for COVID-19 twice on Friday.

    "Sending my prayers for the health and safety of the first lady and the president of the United States," Biden told the audience at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Friday. 

    Early Friday morning, the White House announced Trump and his wife, Melania, had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, after Hope Hicks, a close adviser to the president, tested positive hours earlier.

    On Friday, Sean P. Conley, Trump's personal physician, said Trump was taking an "antibody cocktail" made by Regeneron Pharmaceudicals and that the 74-year-old head of state was fatigued with a fever. His wife, 50-year-old Melania, has a mild cough and headache, and the rest of the first family has tested negative.

    On Friday evening, Trump relocated to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he will stay in a private presidential suite for several days that will allow him to continue working in close proximity to medical staff.

    In his stump speech in the manufacturing town on Friday, 77-year-old Biden used the circumstance of Trump's illness to make the case for stricter measures to combat the spread of the virus, which Trump has been ambivalent about at best.

    "This is not a matter of politics," Biden said, but "a bracing reminder that we have to take this virus seriously."

    "We can save 100,000 lives in the next 100 days according to the head of the CDC if everyone wears a mask in public," Biden said, citing various experts, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, with whom Trump has butted heads over preventative measures.

    "So be patriotic: it's not about being a tough guy, it's about doing your part. Wearing a mask is not only going to protect you, but it also protects those around you: you mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, husband, wife, neighbor, coworker. Don't just do it for yourself, do it for the people you love, people you work with," Biden said.

    At the first presidential debate on Tuesday, during which Trump stood just feet from Biden, prompting fears of cross-infection leading to Biden's Friday tests, the president made a jab at Biden's constant wearing of masks.

    "I think masks are okay," Trump told debate moderator and Fox News journalist Chris Wallace. "You have to understand - I mean, I have a mask right here. I put a mask on when I think I need it ... I don't wear masks like him, every time you see him he's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from and he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen."

    More than 208,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 7 million have contracted the illness. A startling report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington last month predicted that number could double to 410,000 dead by the end of the year, noting that the number falls considerably if basic safety measures such as wearing masks are used by 95% of people, but skyrockets if social distancing mandates are lifted too early.

    Meanwhile, at the presidential debate, Trump promised voters that a vaccine was just weeks away. Last month, Trump's Coronavirus Task Force revealed that a vaccine could be ready as early as mid-October, that 100 million doses could be distributed by the end of the year and that every American who wishes to be vaccinated can be by April of next year.
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (229)

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    prayers, COVID-19, Donald Trump, Joe Biden
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