In election’s homestretch, coronavirus surge underscores the parties’ contrasts

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In the homestretch of the presidential campaign, with the U.S. coronavirus caseload trending ominously upward, the rival campaigns of President Trump and Joe Biden more than ever are providing a clash of contrasts on how to contain COVID-19 and tend to the virus-battered economy.That was evident in their own actions over the weekend, and in the statements of their surrogates. With the election over in 16 days and voting underway in all 50 states, the country is entering “the most difficult phase of this epidemic,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under President Trump, now a critic of his response.“I think the next three months are going to be very challenging,” he said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” adding, “There’s really no backstop against the spread that we’re seeing.”Channeling Trump, who has falsely insisted to his mostly unmasked supporters at rally after close-packed rally that the country is “turning the corner,” his surrogates and aides on Sunday’s interview shows professed optimism. They touted near-term prospects for vaccines, praised the president’s virus-fighting efforts over the last eight months and declared, despite daily evidence to the contrary, that …

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