The White House announced Thursday that President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing “very mild symptoms.”
The news comes as new variants of the virus hinder efforts to resume normalcy after more than two years of pandemic challenges.
According to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden is taking Paxlovid, an antiviral drug designed to reduce the severity of the disease.
She said Biden has “very mild symptoms” and “will isolate at the White House while continuing to carry out all of his duties fully.” She pointed out that Biden has been in contact with members of the White House staff by phone and will participate in his planned meetings at the White House “via phone and Zoom from the residence.”
The White House released a letter from Biden’s physician that said the president has a runny nose and “fatigue, with an occasional dry cough, which started (Wednesday) evening.”
The 79-year-old Biden is fully vaccinated, having received two doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine shortly before taking office, a first booster shot in September and an additional dose March 30.
O’Connor wrote in his letter about the president’s treatment plan: “I anticipate that he will respond favorably” to Paxlovid “as most maximally protected patients do.”
Jean-Pierre said Biden had last tested negative on Tuesday, and he will stay isolated until he tests negative again. Biden had planned to visit Pennsylvania on Thursday to talk about his crime prevention plans and attend a Democratic fundraiser, and then spend a long weekend in Delaware. His appearances and travel are canceled.
First lady Jill Biden spoke to reporters as she arrived at a school in Detroit on Thursday, telling them she had just gotten off the phone with her husband.
“He’s doing fine,” she said, according to the Associated Press. “He’s feeling good.”