The US Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden said Thursday that Donald Trump has refused to boost efforts to combat the coronavirus even after he tested positive, accusing Trump of doing nothing to improve conditions for Americans.

Iran PressAmerica: "We're in a situation where we have 210,000 plus people dead and what's he doing? Nothing. He's still not wearing masks," Biden said during an ABC News televised town hall event being held live at the same time Trump was holding his own town hall on a different network.

The prime-time split-screen showdown offered a visual reminder of the deeply divided American electorate, even as more than 18 million ballots have already been cast ahead of the formal Nov. 3 Election Day.

"He said he didn't tell anybody because he was afraid Americans would panic," Biden said in Philadelphia on ABC. "Americans don't panic. He panicked."


Biden also criticized  Trump's America First policy as leaving the United States isolated and less secure.

"We find ourselves in a position where we're more isolated in the world than we've ever been. Our allies are 'go it alone.' America First has made America alone," Biden said.

Trump defended staging a Rose Garden event to announce his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, where many attendees did not wear masks and later tested positive.

"Hey, I'm president - I have to see people, I can't be in a basement," Trump said on NBC in front of an outdoor audience of voters in Miami, implicitly criticizing Biden for spending months off the campaign trail as the pandemic raged.

Although the two candidates were not sharing a stage, it was immediately clear that the coronavirus pandemic, and Trump's recent bout with COVID-19, would be a major topic at both events.

The second presidential debate had originally been scheduled for Thursday, but Trump pulled out of the event after the organizers decided to turn it into a virtual affair following his diagnosis two weeks ago. A final debate is still scheduled for Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Trump, who spent three days in a military hospital but has since returned to the campaign trail, is trying to alter the dynamics of the race. Reuters/Ipsos polls show Biden has a significant national lead, although his advantage in battleground states is less pronounced.