An image of tonight's Mike Pence-Kamala Harris debate stage at the University of Utah garnered widespread disbelief, with experts saying the plexiglass barriers actually look more like security theater. "A box fan, an air filter — and duct tape to attach them. With four such devices cobbled together for a grand total of about $150, the vice-presidential debate on Wednesday night can be made much safer than with the plexiglass barriers being used," said The New York Times after interviewing experts. Linsey Marr, an environmental engineering professor at Virginia Tech who is an expert in airborne viruses, laughed outright when she saw a picture of the debate setup. “It’s absurd,” she said. When she first heard there would be a plexiglass barrier, she said, she imagined an enclosure with an open back or top. “But these are even smaller and less adequate than I imagined.” Another expert, Boston University epidemiologist Ellie Murray, says the barriers would've made sense if the Pence and Harris were sitting close together. “Those plexiglass barriers are really only going to be effective if the vice president or Kamala Harris are spitting at each other,” she said. “Those are really just splatter shields.” Aerosol expert Donald Milton of the University of Maryland added: “At 12 feet 3 inches apart, spray droplet transmission is not the issue. What is the ventilation like? What is the direction of the airflow?” Meanwhile, Harris is going through with the debate because the Biden campaign wants the focus to be on Trump's handling of coronavirus, not the debate stage.
TOPICS: Mike Pence, Kamala Harris, 2020 Presidential Election, Coronavirus