Though his age raises chance of severe Covid, experts predict quick recovery


Joe Biden’s age, 79, automatically puts him at a higher risk of developing complications from Covid, but infectious disease experts expect the president – who has received two Covid boosters vaccines and is relatively healthy – to recover quickly.

Biden Tests positive for Covid on Thursday and has mild symptoms, Including tiredness, runny nose and dry coughAnd the According to a letter from Dr. Kevin O’ConnorChief physician.

“He is a healthy 79-year-old man who was diagnosed quickly, has mild symptoms, is vaccinated and is receiving antiviral therapy. We are all expecting a good outcome,” said Dr. Arturo Casadevall, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

White House Covid response coordinator Dr Ashish Jha said in a briefing that the president is “feeling really good”, has no fever and works all morning.

“We expect that he will continue to have a mild illness, and he will be monitored for symptoms,” he said.

President Joe Biden walks to Marine One from the Oval Office at the White House on July 8, 2022.Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images

Biden tested negative for Covid on Tuesday, so experts believe he is in the early stage of the disease.

“It’s possible that it was detected over the weekend,” said Dr. Scott Roberts, an infectious disease specialist at Yale Medicine. “The average incubation period for an omicron is three days, so I think if he tested positive today, he probably was exposed on Sunday.”

He said the amount of virus in a person’s body, or viral load, is at its highest when symptoms begin. Once Biden’s symptoms start to improve, he said, that would be a good indication that he’s on the mend.

Covid can be more dangerous for people 50 and older for several reasons, including that older adults are more likely to develop underlying health problems. Vaccine protection also tends to be less strong in the elderly because the immune system weakens with age. Doctors will likely check Biden’s blood oxygen levels several times a day to watch for signs of pneumonia.

“This is one of the most important things to measure to make sure you don’t develop more serious lung disease,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

He said the president is unlikely to develop pneumonia because omicrons tend to cause upper respiratory illness.

“The virus gets to the back of the throat and causes inflammation in that local tissue,” Schaffner said. “This irritation causes coughing, runny nose, and sore throat.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he has been very hoarse for a few days,” he added.

What’s next for Biden?

Biden is taking Paxlovid, an antiviral treatment consisting of three tablets twice daily for five days. Disease experts believe that the drug works best the earlier it is taken.

“It’s possible that his viral load is already going down on Baxlovid, and I suspect at this point he will probably continue to improve,” Roberts said.

minority of People who take baxlovid see that their symptoms improve Soon after you finish the medication. Tests may be positive again, but experts said in these cases, the disease tends to return in a milder form and people don’t usually develop new complications. Roberts said doctors should know if Biden has baxoloid reflux within a day or two after he stops taking the drug.

Jha said Biden is taking Eliquis, a blood-thinning drug, and Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering drug, both of which should be stopped during Baxlovid treatment. Paxlovid contains a drug called ritonavir, which slows down how quickly the body breaks down medications. statins like Crestor It is processed by the liver, so slow metabolism may cause the drug to build up in the body.

Experts have said there is a chance Biden will have long-term Covid — symptoms lasting several months or longer — but that risk is diminished by the fact that he has been vaccinated, double-boosted, and taken an antiviral.

“I think once its isolation period is over, the good thing to look for is, does it bounce back straight and react again? Or does it just take a little longer, as with some people?” said Dr. Cameron Wolf, an infectious disease expert and professor of medicine. Associate at Duke University School of Medicine.

There is no evidence to suggest that the dominant prevalent variant – BA.5 – causes more severe disease than the previous variants. However, it is more contagious and better at evading immune protection than previous vaccines or infections. However, experts said vaccines and treatments like Paxlovid still work well against it.

If Biden begins to feel more ill, other treatment options are available, including oxygen support, steroids and the antiviral remdesivir. One monoclonal antibody, bebtelovimab, is Proven to be effective against BA.5 like that.

These defenses were not available the last time the president contracted Covid.

“Think about when President Trump got that,” Casadevall said. “He wasn’t vaccinated, there was no baciclovir at the time, and he ended up in the hospital. In two short years, we have vaccines available and we have antivirals available. I think this is something to celebrate.”

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