Trump, Biden in final full week of campaigning as virus looms large

ANGELA WEISS / AFP

US President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are down to the final full week of campaigning before the November 3 election.

Trump claimed progress in combating the disease even as the US set records in recent days for daily infections, while Pence forged ahead with campaigning on Sunday despite close aides testing positive.

Biden accused the president of surrendering to the pandemic that has killed about 225,000 people in the US. 

With eight days to go before Election Day, more than 59.1 million Americans have already voted in person or by mail, a pace of early voting that could lead to the highest turnout rate in more than a century, according to data from the US Elections Project at the University of Florida.

On Monday, Trump will head to Pennsylvania, a critical swing state being heavily courted with frequent visits by both candidates, and speak at rallies in Allentown, Lititz and Martinsburg. He is set for multiple trips to Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin this week, as well as visits to Nebraska, Arizona and Nevada.

Biden was expected to remain in his home state of Delaware on Monday. He is scheduled to travel to Georgia on Tuesday, with stops in Atlanta and Warm Springs, a town of about 400 people where Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who took office during the Great Depression and rolled out his New Deal recovery program, died in 1945.

That push in the Southern state, which went for Trump in 2016 by about 5 percentage points and has not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992, shows Biden's effort to expand his party's reach as polls show a competitive race in the state.

Despite Biden's solid lead in national opinion polls, the contest in the most critical battleground states such as Florida and Pennsylvania that could decide the outcome appears closer. Biden will be aided with an appearance in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday by former President Barack Obama, under whom he served as vice president.

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