Why didn’t Biden disguise himself?
The White House announcement followed Biden’s four-day visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia, his sixth international trip during his presidency.
The president met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other Saudi officials indoors without masks for an extended period of time, which could put him at risk of contracting the virus.
“We follow the protocols of the countries we visit,” a White House spokesman said.
This shows how the willingness to take precautions has changed since the deadly winter wave.
“If we start seeing an increase in deaths and hospitalizations, everything about recommendations is now up in the air,” said Irwin Redlener, director of the Pandemic Resources and Response Initiative at Columbia University.
Just last week, Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, called a brief exposé at a college reunion a “mistake” in judgment that led to him being diagnosed with Covid-19 last month.
“If I did this, I would say to myself, I hope I’m not mistaken,” director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. said in an interview with POLITICO a week before the president’s business.
“White House protocols are based on and sometimes exceed CDC guidelines,” a White House spokesman said, adding that people should still be tested for the virus before meeting with the president. It is unclear if foreign dignitaries were also screened during Biden’s trip to the Middle East. “The White House is a unique place to work, and as such, we have clear protocols in place to ensure our employees can work safely and efficiently.”
What is a “light” case for a 79-year-old man?
This was stated by Biden’s doctor Kevin O’Connor. memo Biden had a mildly high fever Friday night Thursday, but his symptoms improved after his first full day of Paxlovid, a 30-tablet regimen taken over five days.
However, Biden’s symptoms include a runny nose, fatigue, and a cough. O’Connor also said that Biden had withheld other medications, such as a daily blood thinner, while taking antivirals. “The president is fully vaccinated and resuscitated twice, so I expect him to respond favorably, as do most maximally protected patients.”
While fewer people are dying from the virus than in previous waves, deaths and severe cases are still disproportionately high among older Americans, according to the CDC. Evidence is still coming in about a highly transmissible BA.5 subvariant that has quickly become the dominant strain in the country, prompting federal health officials to demand that every adult get another booster dose.
Biden’s case is similar to that of Fauci, 81, whose symptoms, except for fatigue, disappeared during his first course of Paxlovid. Fauci told POLITICO that he experienced a Paxlovid rebound, tests were negative for two days before the virus rose again, causing fever, fatigue and other symptoms. He then began a second course of Paxlovid, which health experts already speculate Biden might do.
Does all this mean that CDC leadership needs to change?
The administration risks causing a political backlash by asking states to introduce new mask-wearing requirements, but public health experts say the surge caused by Omicron BA.5 suboption calls for stricter measures, including longer quarantine periods.
The president goes beyond CDC’s “incorrect” quarantine guidelines for five days after testing positive and then wearing a mask for five days, saying he will test every day and won’t stop quarantine until he tests negative, said Eric Topol, physician and founder of the Scripps Translational Research Institute.
Topol said the CDC should recommend a longer lockdown period: “It’s a real embarrassment that the president’s lockdown plan differs from the CDC’s recommendation.”
Many countries recommend quarantine for a week and test negative for two days before ending isolation. The CDC changed its leadership in December amid the initial wave of Omicron. Biden is also following broader White House protocol for staffers and reporters who have tested positive and must test negative before returning to the building.
The CDC did not immediately respond to requests for comment about whether the agency was considering changing its quarantine guidance.
Richard Besser, CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former acting director of the CDC, said that under ideal circumstances, everyone would follow Biden’s lead by waiting for a negative test result before exiting lockdown.
But he defended current principles that recognize that millions of Americans simply cannot afford to sit out for a week or more.
“For many people, isolation for 10 days is an extremely difficult task,” Besser said. “Not everyone can afford that luxury.”
Instead, Besser said he supports federal officials encouraging people to wear better N95 and KN95 masks, which have been shown to be much better at preventing the spread of the virus than cloth masks.
What is the risk for a person of Biden’s age who is vaccinated and resuscitated?
Because he is vaccinated and taking Paxlovid, Biden’s case is likely to remain mild, but scientists still know relatively little about the long-term symptoms of Covid-19, affecting up to three in 10 people who have had the disease.
“I would say that his risk of hospitalization is extremely low,” said Celine Gunder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist who is also the chief public health editor at Kaiser Health News. “For me, this is probably the most important question: how long has he had Covid.”
Pulmonary Covid is an umbrella term for a range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe, from breathing problems to head fog and severe organ damage. CDC investigation into whether long-term illness can lead to death after analyzing death certificates over the past two years, 100 possible cases were found.
But it’s still hard to tell what the current risk is for older people who are vaccinated and boosted as health officials struggle to better understand option BA.5 and gather nationwide data on its severity.
“From the point of view of immune escape, transmission, contagiousness of spread, this is the worst option since the beginning of the pandemic,” Topol said. “The only reason we don’t see more deaths and more hospitalizations is because we have this wall of immunity from all infections, revaccinations, vaccinations and all of that.”
Daniel Payne contributed to this report.