How are 70-plus Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden keeping safe during coronavirus outbreak?

Biden-Sanders debate in Washington.
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders greet each other with an elbow bump as they arrive for their presidential debate in a CNN studio in Washington on Sunday.
(Mandel Ngan / AFP-Getty Images)

Presidential candidates — they’re just like us in the face of the coronavirus: lots of hand washing with soap and hot water, hand sanitizers and avoiding shaking hands.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was asked at the Democratic debate on Sunday how he was protecting himself during the pandemic, with the moderator noting his heart attack in October. (Heart issues are among the underlying health conditions that make exposure to the coronavirus more deadly.)

“Last night, we had a fireside chat, not a rally,” Sanders responded. “I love doing rallies and we bring many thousands of people out to our rallies. I enjoy it very much. We’re not doing that right now.”


Sanders added that his staff is working from home, and he is not shaking hands with anyone.

“Joe and I did not shake hands,” Sanders noted of his rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. “I am very careful about the people I am interacting with.”

Biden used the moment to poke at Sanders’ health issues, which have received little scrutiny in the campaign.

“Fortunately, I don’t have any of the underlying conditions you’re talking about,” he said, adding that he was in “good health.”

He said he was taking the same precautions all Americans are being urged to take — not shaking hands, frequently washing his hands, not touching his face as well as campaign-specific efforts such as not holding rallies and having his staff work from home.

“I’ve taken all the precautions we’ve told everybody else to take.”

The moderators had noted that the candidates’ ages put them in more danger if they are infected with the virus. Biden is 77 and Sanders is 78.