President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday morning, and he is experiencing “very mild symptoms,” according to White House officials.
Biden, 79, is fully vaccinated and has received two boosters. He is taking Paxlovid, an antiviral drug used to reduce the severity of COVID-19 in high-risk people.
“Consistent with CDC guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said in a statement.
“He has been in contact with members of the White House staff by phone this morning and will participate in his planned meetings at the White House this morning via phone and Zoom from the residence,” she said.
Based on White House protocol for COVID-19 cases, Biden will work in isolation until he tests negative, she added. Once he tests negative, he will return to in-person work.
“Out of an abundance of transparency, the White House will provide a daily update on the president’s status as he continues to carry out the full duties of the office while in isolation,” she said.
In addition, the White House Medical Unit will inform close contacts during the day today, she said, including any lawmakers or press who interacted with Biden yesterday. His last COVID-19 test was Tuesday, which was negative.
Biden tested positive on an antigen test as part of the White House’s routine screening program, which was confirmed with a PCR test, according to a memo from Kevin O’Connor, DO, the president’s doctor and an associate professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
“On questioning, President Biden is currently experiencing mild symptoms, mostly rhinorrhea (runny nose) and fatigue, with an occasional dry cough, which started yesterday evening,” O’Connor wrote.
O’Connor prescribed Paxlovid for treatment since Biden meets the FDA criteria, he said.
“The president is fully vaccinated and twice-boosted, so I anticipate that he will respond favorably, as most maximally protected patients do,” he wrote. “Early use of Paxlovid in this case provides additional protection against severe disease.”
Biden was scheduled to fly to Pennsylvania on Thursday for a speech about gun violence and then travel to his home in Delaware for the weekend. The trip has been canceled.
First Lady Jill Biden said she tested negative on Thursday morning, according to CNN.
“I talked to him just a few minutes ago. He’s doing fine, he’s feeling good,” she told reporters in Detroit.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who tested positive for COVID-19 in April, has tested negative, according to media reports.
The coronavirus has now infected consecutive presidents. Then-President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump both tested positive in October 2020. President Trump was hospitalized for nearly 5 days after he was infected.
White House: “Statement from Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, July 21, 2022.”
White House: “President Biden Screened ‘Positive’ for SARS-CoV-2 memorandum, July 21, 2022.”
The New York Times: “Biden, 79, is experiencing fatigue, a runny nose and a dry cough after testing positive.”
CNN: “Biden tests positive for Covid-19, White House says.”
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