At Saturday night’s South Carolina Senate race debate, there was more to social distancing than two podiums set thirteen feet apart.
Jaime Harrison, the Democratic Party challenger to Senator Lindsey Graham, was shielded by a large plexiglass screen, and prior to the debate, his campaign manager tweeted that the incumbent senator should be quarantining.
Fittingly, the first question of the night concerned the coronavirus pandemic, the number of newly infected public officials in the past day, and whether politics had hampered the response to the virus.
Senator Graham answered first, defending the handling of the pandemic, saying that “the virus is a problem that came out of China not Trump Tower”.
He then pivoted his answer, vowing that through his position on the judiciary committee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett would be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
Mr Harrison said that he was not going to blame president Donald Trump or anyone for the inception of the disease, but he would put blame on whether it was taken seriously.
.@harrisonjaime’s headed to the #SCSen debate site right now.
He’s going to make us proud.
Lindsey Graham? He should be quarantining.
Lindsey had a prolonged exposure to COVID three days ago.
If he was following the CDC’s guidelines, he’d be quarantining for 14 days.
— Zack Carroll (@ZackCarroll) October 3, 2020
“Tonight I am taking this seriously. That’s why I put this plexiglass up. Because it’s not just about me, it’s about the people in my life that I have to take care of as well: my two boys, my wife, my grandmother,” he said.
Mr Harrison lost his aunt to coronavirus in the summer.
— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) October 4, 2020
The debate comes on the second day of the president being hospitalised with the coronavirus at Walter Reed Medical Centre.
South Carolina has more than 151,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and has officially recorded 3,442 deaths from the virus.
There have been 7.4 million cases nationwide and more than 209,000 deaths.