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White House Covid-19 outbreak overshadows vice-presidential debate

After a week that put an exclamation mark on the recklessness of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, vice-president Mike Pence is set to defend the White House on Wednesday night in his first and only televised debate with Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

As head of the White House’s pandemic task force, Pence appeared to have his work cut out for him, with polls indicating that a majority of Americans have lost faith in Donald Trump’s ability to confront and control the virus, and blame the US government for mishandling it.

To counter that view, Pence will have to explain how the virus was allowed to tear through the White House, Congress and Republican donor circles last week, hospitalizing the president and exposing a mounting number of staff, Secret Service and military personnel to Covid-19.

Pence was among those deepest inside the infection zone – though

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