VP debate: Plexiglas is a failed response to the coronavirus in physical form

A clear contender for the worst design of 2020 has emerged: the stage for today’s vice presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence. And we’re not talking about the bald eagle set, which looks like it was borrowed from a cheap beer brand. (Debate phases Do tend to look like bad game showsso that goes without saying.) It’s the puny Plexiglas partitions will not are supposed to somehow protect the vice presidential candidates from contracting COVID-19. Experts say they are useless.

What an obvious symbol of the ineffective, embarrassing and careless response to the pandemic. As a thought experiment, imagine if one of the debaters were smoking and exhaling visible smoke: would he reach the other debater in this setup? Of course it would. As Josh Gondelman, a writer for Desus & Mero, pointed this out on Twitter“We protect salad bars better than that.”

This barely half-baked protection is a barely half-baked response after the Biden-Harris campaign asked the Presidential Debate Commission for extra precautions. Even if there was one Rise in coronavirus cases in the White HousePence, chairman of the White House coronavirus task force and contact with known carriers of the virus, was tested negative. Pence’s campaign people initially scoffed at the physical barrier proposal, saying they didn’t believe barriers worked, but did finally agreed to the partitions. The two contestants will also be 12 feet apart, further than usual.

The science that explains how COVID-19 spreads is still evolving. Many Public health officials recommend physical barriers as a way to stop the spread of the virus, and almost everyone agrees that the intent is to capture exhaled aerosol particles and expelled droplets. The CDC recently released a report This confirms that airborne transmission is possible and that particles can remain in the air in the room. It’s not that plexiglass barriers are inherently a bad idea, but these appear to be around 5 to 6 feet tall and maybe a meter wide. Maybe something that actually encompassed the candidates? At least curved over and around them? Instead, each partition was cut into a bow, presumably for aesthetic reasons, with a significant amount of protective material removed. If only there was someone on this set who cares as much about the actual confrontation with COVID-19 as about the performing arts associated with it.


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