Live coverage of the vice presidential debate

Welcome to our live coverage of the vice presidential debate in the United States.

Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris will be seated three-and-a-half metres apart for the debate at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah, and there will plexiglass barriers between them.

That’s all a consequence of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis and the cluster of cases spreading through the White House at the moment.

Mr Pence was at a suspected “superspreader” event in the White House’s Rose Garden late last month, where Mr Trump announced his nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

The Vice President has repeatedly tested negative for the virus since then, but as we’ve seen with others connected to Mr Trump – such as Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and policy adviser Stephen Miller – that is not an ironclad guarantee that he isn’t infected.

So, Ms Harris’s team demanded the plexiglass barriers for today’s debate. Mr Pence’s team resisted for a while, arguing the barriers were unnecessary, but eventually consented.

You might wonder why you should care about the vice presidential debate at all. The position doesn’t hold much real power, beyond the ability to break tied votes in the Senate.

Keep in mind that Mr Trump, 74 and Mr Biden, 78 are two of the oldest presidential candidates in history. Should they die or become otherwise unable to discharge their duties as president, the vice president is first in line to take over.

So as far as Mr Pence and Ms Harris are concerned, this debate is a chance to prove they are ready for the top job.

Read on for all the latest updates.

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