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President Biden tests positive for COVID-19
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President Biden tests positive for COVID-19

The president is experiencing 'mild symptoms,' per the White House

  • President Joe Biden welcomes ASEAN leaders to the White House on May 12, 2022.
    Erin Scott/White HousePresident Joe Biden welcomes ASEAN leaders to the White House on May 12, 2022.

President Joe Biden tested positive Thursday for COVID-19.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden, 79, is experiencing “very mild symptoms” and is being treated with Paxlovid, an antiviral medication approved to treat the coronavirus.

The president plans to participate in his planned meetings by phone and teleconference from the White House, where he is in isolation.

Kevin O’Connor, physician to the president, said Biden’s symptoms began Wednesday, amounting to a runny nose, fatigue and an occasional dry cough,

Biden, who is fully vaccinated and has received two booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, last tested negative for the virus on Tuesday. On Thursday, he tested positive on both an antigen and a PCR test, the White House physician noted.

The White House will provide daily updates on the president’s condition, and the president will continue to work from isolation until he tests negative for the virus, consistent with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Close contacts of the president will be informed throughout the day, though it’s unclear who those contacts might be.

For the first two years of the pandemic, Biden evaded the virus even as high-level officials including Vice President Kamala Harris and members of Congress tested positive.

The president’s case comes as the highly infectious BA.5 variant is causing a new wave of COVID-19 infections. The CDC has cited it as the most dominant strain of the virus in the U.S., with the daily average of new cases numbering 126,018 as of press time.

BA.5 has not proven more deadly than previous variants but is able to evade previous immunity, including immunity created from previous COVID-19 infections.

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