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'Be patriotic,' Joe Biden encourages people to wear masks after Trump tests positive for COVID-19

"It's not a matter of politics. It's a bracing reminder to all of us, we have to take this virus seriously," Biden said speaking in Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned in Grand Rapids Friday afternoon only hours after testing negative for COVID-19. 

Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, were tested for the virus after President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced they tested positive for COVID-19. Trump and Biden were in close contact after Tuesday's debate.

The Democratic presidential candidate had planned to hold two events in Grand Rapids and one virtual one on Friday, but after the news of the positive COVID-19 case, the schedule was delayed. 

Wearing a mask, Biden started his speech at the United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 951 by discussing coronavirus and wishing the president well. 

"It's not a matter of politics. It's a bracing reminder to all of us, we have to take this virus seriously," he said. "It's not going away automatically. We have to do our part to be responsible--means following the science, listening to the experts, washing our hands, social distancing."

Biden then encouraged the public to wear a mask in public and said a national mask mandate would help limit the spread of COVID-19. 

"So be patriotic. It's not about being a tough guy. It's about doing your part," Biden said. "Wearing a mask is not only going to protect you, it also protects those around you." 

Credit: AP
A supporter holds an American flag and a small sign that reads "Masks Work" as Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden's motorcade departs United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 951, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, following a speech in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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Biden emphasized this, saying "don't just do it for yourself. Do it for the people you love." He also said the seriousness of the virus shows that the nation needs access to regular testing with quick results. 

The president has questioned the effectiveness of wearing masks, even though Centers for Disease Control recommends face coverings in public spaces where social distancing is not possible. And at Tuesday's debate, he also mocked Biden, saying "I don't wear masks like him. Every time you see him he's got a mask."

Friday afternoon, the White House said the president was brought to Walker Reed National Military Medical Center to spend a few days in the military hospital. The White House said the visit is precautionary. His campaign said the any in-person events featuring Trump will be on hold.

"We need to take the science of fighting this disease seriously if we're going to save lives," Biden said. "And above all, the news is a reminder that we as a nation need to do better at dealing with this pandemic." 

Watch the full briefing here

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