Trump and Biden clash over national Covid mask mandate – US politics live

11.10am BST

In more evidence of the administration not taking the coronavirus threat seriously, The Hill are touting an exclusive this morning saying they have obtained behind-the-scenes documents showing how concerned health officials were in Oklahoma as Trump planned to stage his Tulsa rally there in June. “How strongly do I speak out?” asked one epidemiologist working for the state in an email.

“I am concerned that the mass indoor gathering in Tulsa of 19,000 people will directly lead to deaths in Oklahoma,” Aaron Wendelboe stated in the email, which has not previously been reported. “As the state epidemiologist, I feel I have a responsibility to speak out and warn of the estimated risk.”

In an internal risk analysis, Wendelboe, who left the department after his contract expired this summer, estimated that the event would likely lead to “at least 2 deaths and probably closer to 10.”

11.04am BST

Donald Trump appeared at an ABC town hall event last night, a rare non-Fox News TV appearance for the president. He was asked by a member of the audience “Why don’t you support a mandate from national mask wearing and why don’t you wear a mask more often?”

To this, Trump replied:

Well, I do wear them when I have to, and when I’m in hospitals and other locations. But I will say this, they said at the Democratic Convention, they’re going to do a national mandate. They never did it. Because they’ve checked out and they didn’t do it. And a good question is you ask like Joe Biden, they said, we’re going to do a national mandate on masks. He didn’t do. I mean, he never did it.

To be clear: I am not currently president. But if you chip in now, we can change that in November: https://t.co/eFS4tDfHEx https://t.co/ciqFcIGLHB

Related: Prestigious US science journal breaks with tradition to back Biden

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Source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2020/sep/16/donald-trump-joe-biden-coronavirus-covid-19-masks-hurricane-sally-west-coast-wildfires-us-politics-live