President Biden Tests Positive for COVID

White House says he has mild symptoms
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 21, 2022 9:40 AM CDT
Updated Jul 21, 2022 12:33 PM CDT
President Biden Tests Positive for COVID
President Biden speaks to members of the media after exiting Air Force One on July 20 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Updated: This summary has been updated throughout, including with comments from the president and his doctor. President Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and is experiencing “very mild symptoms,” the White House said, per the AP. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden has begun taking Paxlovid, an antiviral drug designed to reduce the severity of the disease. He was isolating at the White House and “continuing to carry out all of his duties fully,” she said. Biden’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, said in a letter that Biden had a runny nose and “fatigue, with an occasional dry cough, which started yesterday evening.”

“Folks, I’m doing great. Thanks for your concern," Biden tweeted. Biden also tweeted a video in which he thanked people for their concern and said he was doing fine, per the Hill. Biden, 79, is fully vaccinated, after getting two doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine shortly before taking office, a first booster shot in September, and an additional dose on March 30. Jean-Pierre described the president's symptoms as "very mild" and said Biden had been in contact with members of the White House staff by phone and would participate in his planned meetings "via phone and Zoom from the residence.” First lady Jill Biden, speaking to reporters as she arrived for a school visit in Detroit, said she'd just gotten off the phone with her husband. “He’s doing fine,” she said. "He’s feeling good.”

After more than two years and over a million deaths in the US, the virus is still killing an average of 353 people a day across the country, according to the CDC. The unvaccinated are at far greater risk, more than two times more likely to test positive and nine times more likely to die from the virus than those who have received at least a primary dose of the vaccines, according to the public health agency. The highly transmissible omicron variant is the dominant strain in the US, but scientists say it poses a lower risk for severe illness to those who are up to date on their vaccinations. Omicron's BA.5 sub-strain, believed to be even more contagious, now makes up more than 65% of US cases. (More President Biden stories.)

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