Hundreds of Doctors Call on Debate Commission to Reverse Its Decision to Cancel 2nd Debate

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon


Well, it turns out that the Commission on Presidential Debates might not have needed to cancel the second debate between President Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden after all. Hundreds of doctors have written to the commission, taking issue with their decision to nix the second event, arguing that it was not medically necessary. 

The New York Post reported that numerous physicians took issue with the debate commissions actions, arguing that they could still hold the event as long as they observed safety guidelines. 

From The Post:

“Many of the doctors cited guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which states that a person infected with COVID-19 can safely be around other people 10 days after their symptoms first appeared.”

“I am a family medicine physician who has treated many COVID patients, both in hospital and in the outpatient setting. I am requesting that the Commission reverse its decision and hold an in-person debate,” Dr. Joseph Dougherty, a doctor from Pittsburgh, argued. “Based on science, data, and epidemiology, the debate can, and should, be held safely in person and it is essential to do so.”

A letter from Dr. Jacqueline Koski asserted that “according to the current scientific knowledge regarding Covid transmission, there should be no concern whatsoever about holding a debate with proper precautions in place.”

Before the commission announced the cancelation, they suggested holding the debate virtually due to President Trump’s testing positive for the coronavirus. The president declined, stating that he would only participate in an in-person debate. Biden stated that he would only attend the event if it were done virtually. 

Earlier, The New York Post reported that the president’s doctor stated on Saturday that Trump is no longer contagious. Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician, wrote a memo in which he said, “This evening I am happy to report that in addition to the President meeting the CDC criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation, this morning’s COVID PCR sample demonstrates, by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk to others.” 

The memo comes ten days after the president began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Conley indicated that Trump has been fever-free for “well over 24 hours” and has seen “all symptoms improve.” 

So what gives? Did the commission even consult with any physicians before making the decision to cancel the debate? The cancelation occurred before Conley announced that Trump was no longer a transmission risk, so in light of this new information, and the arguments coming from doctors, will they change their mind? Or was there an ulterior motive for nixing the second debate?


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