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UMD Scientists Say Vice Presidential Debate Needs Air Filtration System Due To Coronavirus

SALT LAKE CITY (WJZ) -- Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris are set to square off Wednesday in the only vice presidential debate of the 2020 election season, but a group of Maryland scientists said there need to be additional safety protocols put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Donald Milton and Prof. Jelena Srebic from the University of Maryland wrote a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates Tuesday in which they recommended adding an air filtration system to the room where the debate will happen.


"In a debate forum with unmasked debaters, the risk to the candidates and others is not from flying droplets expelled by speech or coughs but from aerosolized virus particles travelling in the air," the letter reads, according to CBS News. "Droplet spray does not easily travel twelve feet or more. Airborne particles, however, can and might reach everyone in the room."

The debate, set for Wednesday night at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, is the first since President Donald Trump, the first lady and multiple White House staffers tested positive for COVID-19.

Harris and Pence will be seated 12 feet apart and separated by a plastic barrier, CBS News reports.

Watch CBS News coverage of the debate at 9 p.m. on WJZ and CBSN.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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