Biden tests positive for Covid, experiencing mild symptoms

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The White House said in a statement that President Joe Biden tested positive for the Covid virus on Thursday and is experiencing “mild symptoms.”

The statement said Biden, 79, is being treated with the antiviral drug Baxilovid and is fully vaccinated twice. Ashish Jha, the White House coordinator on Covid, said Biden is tired, runny nose and a dry cough. Jha said Biden felt fine when he went to bed, but didn’t sleep well.

“In line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, he will be in isolation in the White House and will continue to fully carry out all of his duties during that period,” the statement said. “He has been in contact with members of White House staff by phone this morning, and will participate in his planned meetings at the White House this morning by phone and Zoom from his residence,” he added.

A positive test comes in a few days Biden returned from a trip abroad He was in close contact with a number of leaders in Israel and the Middle East. Before the trip, White House officials said Biden would reduce contact as a precaution for Covid, but during public engagements, Biden was seen shaking hands and embracing officials and was seen without a mask during internal meetings.

First Lady spokesman Jill Biden said she is considered to be in close contact and following CDC guidance on concealment and social distancing. The first lady said the president is “fine” and that she has tested negative.

“My husband has tested positive for Covid, I just spoke to him a few minutes ago, he’s fine,” the first lady said Thursday before an educational event in Detroit. “He’s feeling better. My test result came back negative this morning. I’ll keep my schedule.”

Biden’s doctor, Kevin O’Connor, said in a letter that Biden received a positive antigen test as part of a routine screening and the test was later confirmed with a more sensitive PCR test. He said Biden started having a dry cough on Wednesday evening.

“The president has been fully vaccinated and double-boosted, so I expect he will respond positively, as do most maximum-protected patients,” O’Connor said in the letter.

Biden’s last known negative test for Covid was on July 19, according to the White House. The next day he traveled to Massachusetts for a climate change event.

During a spate of infections in Washington earlier this year, the White House warned that Biden might contract Covid at some point, but said he has a level of protection from vaccinations and access to antiviral treatments that have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization and death. .

The White House said it will provide a daily update on the president’s situation, and inform all close contacts, including members of Congress who interacted with him at the event on Wednesday.

Her office said Vice President Kamala Harris was flying to North Carolina on Air Force One at the time Biden’s positive test was announced, and no decision had yet been made to change her schedule.

COVID cases are increasing with hospitalizations across the US driven by the highly transmissible BA.5 variant, which has recently become the dominant strain in the US

Biden is the second US president in office to contract Covid after his predecessor Donald Trump was hospitalized with an infection in 2020 before vaccines were available. Former President Barack Obama Also tested positive for covid in march.

Biden is the most prominent of the dozens of Washington officials who have contracted the virus this year, including Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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