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Trump, Biden give contrasting messages on COVID-19 in Florida rallies

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-10-30 17:18
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US President Donald Trump applauds as first lady Melania Trump waves during his campaign rally outside Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa, Florida, US, Oct 29, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday gave contrasting messages over the COVID-19 pandemic response when addressing supporters in the critical swing state of Florida.

Trump held a "Make America Great Again" rally in the western coastal city of Tampa, with thousands of supporters gathering outside of the Raymond James Stadium and First lady Melania making her first joint campaign appearance of the year.

He cited the new round of lockdowns in some European countries such as France, saying the United States will not stop business activities amid the resurgence of the pandemic.

"They're losing their businesses. They're losing their jobs. They go back and the business is closed for nine months. We can't do it anymore," he said.

He also mentioned his personal experience with the virus to cheer up those infected.

"You're gonna get better," he told the crowds. "If I can get better, anybody can get better. And I got better fast," he added.

The United States has seen a sharp daily increase in COVID-19 infections over the past weeks. So far, the staggering number of total coronavirus cases in the country has reached nearly 9 million, with around 230,000 people being killed by the deadly virus.

Democratic US presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in, Get Out the Vote campaign stop in Tampa, Florida, US, Oct 29, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

For Biden, who arrived in the same city hours later after Trump and held a "drive-in" rally, in which supporters remained in cars to avoid the possible spread of the virus, criticized the Trump administration's weak handling of the raging pandemic.

"Donald Trump has waved the white flag, abandoned our families and surrendered to this virus. But the American people never give up, never give in," Biden said, calling Trump's rally a "super-spreader event".

"I am not gonna shut down the economy," Biden said. "I am not going to shut down the country. But I am going to shut down the virus."

As the Nov 3 Election Day draws near, the presidential campaign has entered the final stretch. The two rivals are going to barnstorm across battleground states in the Midwest, including Wisconsin and Michigan.

According to the US Election Project at the Florida University, more than 80 million American voters have already cast their ballots in the election with over 51 million ballots cast by mail.

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