When Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris square off on the debate stage Wednesday night, a pair of plexiglass barriers will separate them.
The barriers are just one of the coronavirus precautions being added for the debate. Pence and Harris will also be positioned 12 feet from each other, instead of 7 feet. And they have each been tested for the coronavirus, as have people attending the event, who will be required to wear masks.
But despite being treated as a safety measure, the plexiglass barriers will be almost entirely for show, said Jose-Luis Jimenez, a chemistry professor at the University of Colorado who studies how the coronavirus can spread through the air.
“Aerosol transmission is basically like smoke,” Jimenez said. “If one of the candidates is smoking and you put up plexiglass barriers, it won’t matter. The smoke will just go around those barriers.”
The extra precautions