Biden's Infection Probably Is BA.5 Subvariant, Doctor Says

Symptoms are easing, update says, but there are new ones
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2022 4:15 PM CDT
Biden's Infection Probably Is BA.5 Subvariant, Doctor Says
President Biden speaks virtually during a meeting with his economic team in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex on Friday.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

President Biden has new symptoms in his bout with COVID-19, his physician said Saturday in describing them as less of an issue overall. "His primary symptoms, though less troublesome, now include sore throat, rhinorrhea, loose cough and body aches," Dr. Kevin O'Connor wrote in an update, CNN reports. It was the first mention of the president having a sore throat or body aches, per the AP. O'Connor, who has not taken reporters' questions about the president's illness, wrote that Biden's condition is improving.

Preliminary sequencing indicates that the president probably contracted the BA.5 omicron subvariant, O'Connor said, which accounts for at least 75% of current US cases. A new study has found the subvariant four times more resistant to vaccines, per NPR. Biden tested positive on Thursday. He's completed two days of Paxlovid treatment and is "responding to therapy as expected," his doctor wrote. Treatment includes Tylenol and low-dose aspirin, as an alternate to his usual blood thinner. The president plans to stay in isolation, as per CDC guidelines.

Biden's voice remains deeper than usual. During a virtual meeting Friday, his voice was scratchy, but Biden said, "I feel much better than I sound." O'Connor added that Biden's lungs are clear and that he's had no shortness of breath. "His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature remain entirely normal," O'Connor wrote. "His oxygen saturation continues to be excellent on room air." The president has used his albuterol inhaler several times since testing positive, which O'Connor said he'll continue to do. Biden had asthma when he was younger. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who's been in touch with O'Connor but not the president, said Saturday on CNN that there's reason to think Biden "will do very well." (More President Biden stories.)

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