Biden is learning to live with the risks of coronavirus

WASHINGTON – One by one President Biden hugged and kissed them.

At the ceremony in the East Hall of the White House on July 7, M. Biden awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, to 16 Americans, some in their 80s or 90s. Reaching out to hang a medal around their necks, the President embraced most of them, shook hands with some, and kissed three on the cheek.

It is highly unlikely that Mr. Biden, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, contracted the coronavirus during this event. But the fact that the celebration took place at all highlights how much the White House has abandoned most of the emergency measures it once used to protect the commander-in-chief from a disease that has claimed the lives of more than a million Americans.

In the early days, Mr. Biden was president in a bubble, running the country largely through Zoom inside the Oval Office. He rarely traveled. He held several personal meetings. And most of the office’s ceremonial trappings, like the awards ceremony, have been canceled or delayed due to lockdowns deemed necessary to stop the spread.

But, like many other Americans, M. Biden has relaxed in recent months. Protected by multiple doses of the vaccine, the president and his aides changed their risk assessments and began to live with the coronavirus.

“Whatever you do — be the president of the United States, go to school, go to work, do what you love, be with the people we love — it can’t be put off forever,” said Andy Slavitt. who advised the White House on its response to Covid-19 at the start of the Biden administration.

mr. Slavitt said that Covid-19 has become a disease that “occurs as often as a common cold, but with much more serious consequences.” It’s a much more uncomfortable average state that people can adjust to.”

There was never much doubt in the West Wing that Mr. Biden ended up getting sick. By this week, many of his entourage already had: Vice President Kamala Harris; Jan O’Malley Dillon, his Deputy Chief of Staff; Karine Jean-Pierre, his press secretary; several cabinet members, including the attorney general; Doug Emhoff, second gentleman; and Jen Psaki, his former press secretary, twice.

On Friday, Mr. Biden’s physician said his symptoms had improved. The president had a temperature of 99.4 degrees late Thursday night, the doctor said. Kevin O’Connor in a letter released Friday. He wrote that Mr. Biden still had a runny nose and fatigue, and also that he had a “sometimes unproductive, now ‘wet’ cough.”

“His voice got deeper this morning,” the doctor says. O’Connor wrote. “His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation remain completely normal in room air.”

The deeper tone in Mr. Biden’s voice was prominent on Friday as he participated via video link in a briefing on gas price cuts. mr. Biden cleared his throat several times during his speech and could be heard coughing.

Dr. Ashish K. Jha, coordinator for the administration’s Covid-19 response, said. Biden’s temperature of 99.4 on Thursday was not considered a low-grade fever by the White House and was “within the normal range.” At the same time, he added that he did not know about G. Biden’s temperature was recorded on Friday morning. The White House referred to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it states that a person has a fever “when he or she has a measured temperature of 100.4 degrees” or feels warm to the touch.

But in his letter, D. O’Connor indicated that he did not consider the president’s 99.4 temperature to be normal until he responded to Mr. Trump. Biden takes Tylenol. Dr. Jha said later Friday that doctors routinely report their patients’ highest temperature, even if it’s not a fever.

“Last night he actually had a fever of 99.4°F, which had a positive effect on acetaminophen (Tylenol),” the doctor said. O’Connor wrote. “His temperature has remained normal ever since.”

Dr. Jah said dr. O’Connor prescribed Tylenol not for fever, but rather for Mr. White. “Discomfort” Biden. Dr. Jha declined to say how uncomfortable the president is. Officials said he did not have a sore throat or headache and did not indicate that he had other pains.

This week, the White House went to great lengths to show that Mr. Diagnosis hasn’t had much of an impact on Biden’s work life.

The White House Twitter account posted three photos of the president working at his desk at the White House residence. In one of them you can see him talking on the phone. In another, he signs legislation aimed at giving people greater access to infant formula.

mr. Biden was elected in no small part because he convinced voters to believe he could bring the pandemic under control and reopen the country.

Over the past 18 months, Mr. Biden has achieved much of that goal. Due to the wide availability of vaccines and treatments, shops, bars, sports facilities and schools have reopened in most communities. There are several mask mandates that are still in place.

mr. Biden is currently traveling abroad (he shook hands with numerous world leaders during a trip last week to Israel and Saudi Arabia). He conducts political events around the country, flying Air Force One and riding in a motorcade. And face-to-face meetings at the White House have again become a weekly occurrence.

But the pandemic is not over.

Much of the country is now classified as areas of high community transmission, according to the CDC. The last sub-variant of Omicron to become dominant, BA.5, is definitely more contagious than the original coronavirus, although doctors say the vaccines are still effective in preventing hospitalization and death.

So, Mr. Biden must take the cautious line, demonstrating that he is just like any other American striving to end Covid-19, even as he keeps an eye on the possibility that the pandemic could come back with a roar.

The White House attempted to do so on Friday, using the president’s diagnosis as an example of why Americans should vaccinated and vaccinated.

“We are in a much better position than we were 18 months ago when the president took office,” the doctor said. Jah said, adding that the current level is about 400 Covid-19 deaths per dayy was “unacceptable”. He also added a grim warning.

“This virus,” he said, “will stay with us forever.”