WILMINGTON, Del. — Joe Biden’s chartered airplanes and SUVs are meticulously sprayed with disinfectant and scrubbed. The microphones, lecterns and folders he uses are wiped down in the moments before his arrival. News reporters covering the campaign have their temperature taken. People he meets are scanned in advance with thermometer wands and guests at his events are cordoned off in precise locations mapped out with a tape measure.
The former vice president is seldom without a mask when in public or around anyone other than his wife, Jill Biden. Access to their home is limited to only a few staffers — and when they’re inside, each wears a mask, including Biden. The level of discipline is such that at times when someone stops to take a drink of water, that person will turn their head away from the others to reduce the chances of scattering droplets, according to campaign aides.
With more than 6 million people infected and nearly 200,000 dead from the coronavirus, the former vice president is taking no chances with his safety. He operates in a sanitizer-saturated bubble within the traditional presidential campaign bubble, an environment designed and obsessively cultivated by staff in an attempt to protect him from a possible encounter with the virus.
Joe Biden might be back on the campaign trail after months of quarantining in the basement of his Delaware home, but his team is still trying to keep him inside an impenetrable coronavirus bubble.
The rationale behind the painstaking attention to safety is both personal and political. For months, aides have privately acknowledged being concerned about his health. At 77, Biden is more susceptible to the virus that causes Covid-19 and his age alone puts him at higher risk of serious complications from the illness.
Yet the campaign is also committed to modeling responsible behavior — to avoid undermining their blunt Covid-19 messaging and sharpen the contrast with Donald Trump, who, at the big, nonsocially distanced events the president has resumed holding around the country, delights in deriding Biden for frequently wearing a mask.
Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said the campaign’s reasoning for being so cautious is simple: “We don’t want any more Americans to contract the virus.”
“What we consistently hear from people is that they’re frustrated by how Trump has engaged over the summer — that he doesn’t follow public health guidelines while they’re not going to funerals and are sharing in the sacrifice for six, seven months now,” Bedingfield said. “They’re frustrated when they see Donald Trump behaving irresponsibly at a political event.”