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Monday, April 15, 2024

BREAKING: President Biden Tests Positive For COVID-19, Experiencing Symptoms

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President Joe Biden said on Thursday, July 21, 2022, that he’s tested positive for Covid-19 but will continue to work while in isolation at the White House despite his mild symptoms.

In a video posted to Twitter, Biden told Americans that he is “doing well” and that his symptoms continue to be mild.

“I guess you heard, this morning I tested positive for Covid. But I’ve been double vaccinated, double boosted. Symptoms are mild and I really appreciate your inquires and concerns. But I’m doing well, getting a lot of work done. Going to continue to get it done and in the meantime, thanks for your concern, and keep the faith. It’s gonna be OK,” Biden, who was unmasked while standing outside on the Truman Balcony, said in the 20-second video the White House says was filmed by a masked and socially distanced videographer.

The mild symptoms and diagnosis protocol for Biden — a double-boosted 79-year-old at high risk for experiencing severe illness — will mean isolating and “working and resting” at the White House residence for the rest of the day, according to a senior administration official. This is the first time Biden has tested positive for Covid-19, and he last tested negative on Tuesday, per White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Biden has called several people in the hours since his diagnosis. He wrote on Twitter Thursday afternoon that he is “doing great” following the positive test and said he called Pennsylvania politicians to send his regrets about having to cancel a scheduled trip to the commonwealth. The tweet was accompanied by an image of the President smiling at a desk, without a mask, in the residence of the White House.

In a memo that was sent to staff obtained by CNN, White House chief of staff Ron Klain said Biden will be working over the phone and on video conference for the next few days following the positive result.

“I’ve spoken to him several times this morning already about an array of matters, and he is focused on our pending business,” Klain wrote on Thursday.

Day Zero

Biden tested positive for Covid-19 Thursday morning and has begun taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid, which is available via emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of mild to moderate Covid-19 in people 12 and older who are at high risk of severe illness. It requires a doctor’s prescription.

“Consistent with (US Center for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

Thursday marks “Day 0” of the President’s Covid-19 timeline — meaning he will be in isolation until at least next Tuesday in accordance to the CDC’s guidelines.

The President’s symptoms include “rhinorreha (or ‘runny nose’) and fatigue, with an occasional dry cough, which started yesterday evening,” according to a letter from the President’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor. Biden did not have a fever Thursday morning, White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told CNN.

Jha later told reporters that Biden’s oxygen levels were “normal” as of Thursday morning and that Biden’s Covid-19 virus sample has been sent to a lab to identify the specific variant he is infected with. Results are expected in “less than a week.”

Biden first tested positive for Covid-19 on an antigen test Thursday morning as part of routine screening, and the positive result was later was confirmed by a PCR test, his physician said.

O’Connor also noted that the President met the FDA’s criteria for use of the antiviral Paxlovid, adding, “I anticipate that he will respond favorably, as most maximally protected patients do.”

Due to his age, Biden is at an increased risk for a more severe case of Covid-19, although the CDC says older adults being fully vaccinated and boosted significantly reduces their risk of hospitalization and death.

Jha said Thursday that Biden has the “full set of protections” to deal with Covid-19 at his advanced age.

“The bottom line is given how much immunity he has from vaccines, given that he was started on treatments right away … I think all of those things very dramatically reduce his risk of serious illness,” Jha told CNN’s Jeff Zeleny during the White House press briefing. “And that’s really the goal here, is to prevent serious illness, to keep that risk as low as possible. I think he’s gotten that full set of protections.”

Biden received his first two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine ahead of his inauguration in January 2021, his first booster shot in September, and his second booster vaccination on March 30.

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