President Donald Trump resumed campaigning on Monday with a rally in Florida, a battleground state, saying he had been cured of Covid-19 and repeated an untested claim that he is now “immune” to the virus.
Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, was in Ohio, looking to put into play a Republican-leaning state that Trump had won easily in 2016.
Just three weeks from the close of polling on November 3, Biden leads Trump by 10 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, and 4.8 points in battleground states. The former vice-president leads by 10.4 points in the FiveThirtyEight weighted average of polls.
More than 10 million Americans have already voted through mail or early voting in person according to a University of Florida study tracking the polls.
Trailing in polls, the president returned to the campaign trail with an hour-long speech in Sanford, Florida, in which he sought to set at rest doubts about his recovery from the illness that has killed more 215,000 Americans and infected nearly 8 million.
“I don’t have to be locked up in my basement and I wouldn’t allow that to happen anyway,” Trump said, replaying a version of an attack line he has used to belittle Biden’s careful approach to campaigning, which, in fact, is tailored to ensure the safety of the nominee, surrogates and supporters.
“Now they say I’m immune. I just feel so powerful,” Trump went on to say, pushing a claim that is not grounded in science. There is no evidence to support an infected person develops any kind of immunity to being reinfected. “I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women and the… I’ll just give you a big, fat kiss.”
A report in the Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal published on Tuesday said a man in Reno, Nevada was infected twice — first in April, when he had mild symptoms, and then again in May, this time it was more severe.
Biden continued to attack Trump for his handling of the Covid-19 epidemic, in two speeches in Toledo and Cincinnati in Ohio, portraying him as a president who was not upfront with the American about the gravity of the epidemic and “is only worried about the stock market, because he refuses to follow science”.
He added: “His reckless personal conduct since his diagnosis, is unconscionable.”
The two candidates hit another bunch of battleground states on Tuesday. Biden will be in Florida and Trump in Pennsylvania, a state being deemed as a “tipping point” in the 2020 race for the White House.