Joe Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time and is returning to isolation, his White House doctor said Saturday, attributing the result to a “recovery” of the positive treatment the U.S. president received.
Mr. Biden “tested positive late Saturday morning via antigen testing” after four consecutive days of negative tests and “will resume strict isolation procedures,” Presidential physician Kevin O’Connor wrote in a memo.
“This is actually a positive rebound,” Dr. O’Connor said, referring to a situation in which patients treated with Paxlovid, like Mr. Biden, cleared the virus, but after completing the course give positive result.
“The president has not had a recurrence of symptoms and continues to feel reasonably well. In this case, there is no reason to resume treatment at the present time,” he added.
In his tweet, Biden appeared to be aiming to minimize the situation.
“Guys, I tested positive for COVID again today. This happens to a small minority of people,” he wrote. “I have no symptoms, but I am going to self-isolate for the safety of everyone around me. I’m still at work and will be back on the road soon.”
The White House said Biden had canceled planned trips to Delaware and Michigan.
The second positive test came just three days after O’Connor said Biden tested negative and no longer needed to self-isolate, which he has done since receiving the first positive on July 21.
Mr. Biden has, for the most part, been noticeably cautious about enforcing COVID-19 protocols — in contrast to his predecessor, Donald Trump, who sometimes made fun of those who wore masks.
“The President continues to exercise special conscientiousness to protect any of the executive residence, the White House, the Secret Service and other employees whose duties require any (albeit socially distancing) proximity to him,” O’Connor said.
As the oldest U.S. president in history — turning 80 in November — Biden’s health has attracted constant attention.
On Wednesday, he ended his previous five-day Covid lockdown looking energized as he told cheering aides that his speedy recovery should inspire Americans to take advantage of free vaccines and treatments.
He compared his seemingly quick recovery to Trump’s more serious battle with the disease in October 2020, before vaccines were available.
“When my predecessor got sick with COVID, he had to be flown by helicopter to Walter Reed Medical Center,” Biden said. “He was seriously ill. Fortunately, he recovered. When I got Covid, I was working at the top of the White House.”
He added that a full vaccination, prophylactic tests, and then the use of the therapeutic agent Paxlovid prevents deaths and is available free of charge.
“You don’t have to be president to get these tools,” he said.
Dr. O’Connor warned after clearing Biden of his first round of COVID-19 that the president would wear a mask for 10 days when around others and continue to test regularly in case of a “rebound.”
Dr. O’Connor says Biden is in generally good health. He is fully vaccinated and received two booster shots against the coronavirus.