The White House confirmed on Thursday that US President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 and is showing mild symptoms while isolating at the White House. First Lady Jill Biden had tested negative.
The fully vaccinated and twice boosted 79-year-old president has begun taking Paxlovid and is expected to respond favorably to the Pfizer anti-viral medication, experiencing so far only mild symptoms, mostly rhinorrhea (runny nose) and fatigue, with an occasional dry cough, according to his physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor.
O’Connor added that Biden started experiencing COVID symptoms on Wednesday evening, after which he isolated at the White House, consistent with CDC guidelines, where he will carry out all of his duties fully and will participate in his planned meetings at the White House via phone and video conference.
White House Covid coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said that President Biden’s vaccination status meant that his risk of serious illness was dramatically lower and was further reduced by the anti-viral he was now taking.
Biden will continue to work in isolation until he tests negative. He said in a tweet on Thursday evening that he was doing great and keeping busy.
The White House said that President Biden, who’s the oldest president in US history and turns 80 this year, last tested negative for Covid on Tuesday. Despite being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the positive test is certain to trigger concerns about his health given his age.
The test results came hours before President Biden’s scheduled trip to Pennsylvania where he’s to speak about gun violence prevention and attend a DNC fundraiser. After he returned from his trip to the Middle East over the weekend, he gave a speech on climate on Wednesday in Massachusetts.
Since it’s unclear where Biden was infected, the White House will inform all close contacts of the president during the day, including any members of Congress or the press who were with him during his visit to Massachusetts.