People Want to Know What Was Up With Mike Pence’s Eye During the Debate

Lots of folks pointed out that the vice president’s left eye looked a bit odd

Last Updated: October 7, 2020 @ 8:34 PM

The vice presidential debate between Sen. Kamala Harris and Mike Pence was certainly a more muted affair than last week’s debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, but it certainly managed to spawn plenty of chatter nonetheless. And much of that chatter was about Pence’s left eye, which looked pretty red.

There was also a common thread in many of the responses on Twitter: conjuntivitis, or pink eye, is one possible symptom of a COVID-19 infection. Which is relevant given the coronavirus outbreak in the White House. WebMD no doubt got a surge of traffic to this article about that very topic given how often it was shared during the debate on Wednesday night.

As you are likely aware if you’re paying attention to news about the vice presidential debate, Donald Trump is currently infected with COVID-19, as are many others who work in the White House. There was a concern coming into the vice presidential debate that Pence might have it as well, and so the candidates were moved to 13 feet apart — up from seven feet during last week’s debate — and plexiglass barriers were placed on the stage between them.

Pence has said that he has been tested daily and has not tested positive. And in a statement provided to NBC News after the debate, his press secretary, Devin O’Malley, said Pence took a rapid antigen test with a PCR on Tuesday and Wednesday and tested negative both times, calling talk he might have COVID-19 “completely reckless.” However, that isn’t necessarily a definitive answer, as PCR tests have up to a 20% false negative rate, according a study by Johns Hopkins researchers.

And even without that false negative rate, that doesn’t mean Pence is free of infection.

An internal government memo obtained by ABC News revealed that at least 34 people connected to the White House have thus far tested positive for COVID-19. Among them are the First Lady Melania Trump, presidential advisers Hope Hicks and Stephen Miller, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, KellyAnne Conway, Chris Christie, three political reporters who cover the White House, and two members of the housekeeping staff at the White House.

Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniels and Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien also tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week.

His eye wasn’t the only surprising way that Pence made inadvertent waves during the debate. In the last third of the 90-minute show, a fly landed on the top of the vice president’s head, sending Twitter into a tizzy.