President Biden, the oldest person to ever hold office, tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday but said his symptoms were mild and that vaccines and booster shots helped keep him healthy.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden is “experiencing very mild symptoms” of COVID-19 and has started taking Paxlovid. “In accordance with [U.S. Centers for Disease Control] guidelines, he will be isolated in the White House and will continue to carry out all his duties in full during this time.”
Early Thursday morning, White House tweeted photo of Biden seated at a table calling from the residence. “Guys, I’m doing great. Thank you for your concern,” the tweet read. “Keep busy!” Another tweet included a video of Biden standing on Truman’s balcony and describing his relief from being vaccinated and stimulated.
“I’m doing well, I’m working hard,” Biden says in the video. “In the meantime, thank you for your concern. And trust that everything will be fine.”
A diagnosis of COVID-19 in any 79-year-old is worrying, but Biden’s vaccination status could help him avoid serious complications. He received his fourth dose of the vaccine on 30 March and was found to be in good health during surgery. its annual physical last November
According to letter from the President’s physician vacated by the White House, Biden initially tested positive for an antigen test, with his diagnosis confirmed by a subsequent PCR test. His symptoms were a runny nose, fatigue, and “an occasional dry cough, [Wednesday] evening.”
“The president is fully vaccinated and resuscitated twice, so I expect him to respond favorably, as do most maximally protected patients,” the doctor said. Kevin S. O’Connor, White House physician, wrote.
The White House has revised Biden’s schedule for the next five days. Before the positive test, the president planned to travel to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia on Thursday, then head to his home in Wilmington for the weekend. Vice President Kamala Harris tested negative on Thursday, her office said. She last spent time with Biden on Tuesday and planned to continue with her planned activities.
The president’s positive test comes amid a rise in cases in the country due to the highly contagious BA.5 variant and following a spate of high-profile COVID-19 diagnoses in Washington as all cabinet members, senior aides and lawmakers have contracted the virus. According to the CDC, The seven-day average of new cases has increased by 15.7% over the last week.and the hospitalization rate also rose by 14.4%.
“Because the president is fully vaccinated and boosted twice, the risk of serious illness for him is significantly lower,” Ashish Jha, the White House coronavirus coordinator, said during a daily briefing. Biden, he added, “breathes well. His oxygen levels are normal.”
Aware of public fatigue from mask-wearing orders and other public health directives, Biden sought to reassure the nation that it is OK to resume normal gatherings without masks as long as people are vaccinated, while urging Congress to approve additional funding to ensure that vaccines and kits for testing remains available.
Jha, however, noted the contagiousness of the latter variants and urged the country to get vaccinated. “If you’re over 50 and didn’t get vaccinated in 2022, you need to get one,” he said.
The White House did not speculate about where Biden might have been infected. “I don’t think it matters,” Jean-Pierre said, saying the administration had long prepared for a scenario in which Biden contracted the coronavirus.
Biden was diagnosed just days after he returned from five day trip to israel and saudi arabia and less than 24 hours after he flew with a number of lawmakers and aides to Somerset, Massachusetts, for Wednesday’s speech on the need to combat climate change. Among the lawmakers who were with Biden aboard Air Force One was Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey and Rep. Jake Auchincloss (Massachusetts). The President also spent almost 30 minutes talking with his climate adviser John F. Kerry before heading to the airport after his event.
According to Jean-Pierre, Biden called those people who traveled with him and could be exposed.
Upon his return to Washington, the president answered questions from reporters traveling with him about the rise in COVID-19 cases and what the country should do.
“Vaccination,” he replied. When a reporter standing just a foot away from Biden asked what he would say to those who continue to refuse vaccination, he said, “They have a problem… It’s not in their best interest or in the public interest.” do not get vaccinated. We have the ability to control it. They should be vaccinated right now.”
First lady Jill Biden, despite being in close contact with the president, tested negative on Thursday morning and kept her schedule going to Detroit. She told reporters with her there that she spoke to the president. “He’s doing well. He’s doing well,” she said.
Biden’s positive test is also a reminder of how difficult it is to eliminate the possibility of infection, even for someone as protected as the president. Anyone traveling or meeting with Biden must be pre-tested, according to the White House, and masks are required in the building.
Former President Trump, whose White House has been much softer on coronavirus mitigation practices such as wearing masks, also contracted the virus while he was at the office.
Trump is seriously ill. He was given oxygen and an experimental antibody treatment, and he was hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for three days.