When John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon faced off in the third-ever televised presidential debate in 1960, Kennedy was in New York City and Nixon was in Los Angeles. So presidential candidates remotely debating isn't unprecedented. "After the first presidential debate, it looked as if the big question looming over the next one would be whether anyone could do anything to keep President Trump from constantly interrupting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden," says James Poniewozik. "A week later, we’re wondering if it’s possible to hold a debate without creating a biohazard. Last Friday, when the president announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, it cast the Sept. 29 debate in a horrifying new light. The president, huffing and shouting for 90 minutes, may have been spewing more than invective. Suddenly we had to consider the chilling possibility that we had just watched one presidential candidate give another a deadly disease on live TV. This has not — so far — come to pass. But everything we’ve seen since then has only made more clear that there is no good reason to risk anything like it again. Last week’s in-person presidential debate should be the last one until 2024. It’s time to take this show, and Wednesday’s scheduled vice-presidential debate, remote. If the debates were a network reality show, there would be a scandal and production would be suspended. If the Trump White House — the current site of an active coronavirus outbreak it has worked to downplay and obfuscate — were a sports team, it would be having its games canceled, if not calling all of league play into question. The debates, of course, are not entertainments. They’re political events, with all the stakes and pressures that come with that." Poniewozik adds: "I can understand why the commission would be reluctant to give up on in-person debates. It’s ideal for an audience to see candidates, in the moment, respond to each other and the moderator, to read their body language and get their measure. But it’s more important that a debate not precipitate a constitutional crisis. It’s more important that a debate not sicken or kill anyone...As for having candidates do all that in person, it’s not essential, just nice. And the crises and deceptions of the past week have gone to show why we can’t have nice things right now."