Biden, who is fully vaccinated and twice boosted, tested positive Thursday morning and is experiencing “very mild symptoms,” the White House said.
“Consistent with CDC guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” his administration said. He will resume in-person activities after he tests negative.
Biden, 79, has started taking Paxlovid following his test result, officials said. This antiviral treatment has been found to decrease the risk of COVID hospitalization and death by 89%. Vice President Kamala Harris was similarly prescribed Paxlovid after testing positive for COVID-19 back in April, despite her being asymptomatic.
Biden’s symptoms include a runny nose, fatigue and an occasional dry cough that started Wednesday evening, said his physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, in a letter on his condition. O’Connor said he anticipates that Biden “will respond favorably” to treatment, “as most maximally protected patients do.”
Biden’s Twitter account posted a photo and message Thursday saying the president was “doing great.” A video shared later showed him standing on a balcony outside the White House where he personally assured that he’s doing well and continuing to work from his office.
Dr. Ashish Jha, the Biden administration’s White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said it remains unknown how and when Biden became infected and that his infection was determined during a regularly scheduled COVID-19 test. He added that it will take a few days for tests to determine which variant he has.
“Our expectation is he will continue to have mild illness,” he said of the president’s condition at an afternoon press briefing. Jha said Biden will pause taking two medications that he regularly takes ― a blood thinner and a medication for his cholesterol ― during his five-day use of Paxlovid, which he said is standard procedure when taking the antiviral drug.
Harris, who was last with Biden on Tuesday, tested negative for COVID-19 Thursday morning. She will wear a mask following the advice of the White House medical team, her secretary said.
First lady Jill Biden said while visiting a school in Detroit Thursday morning that she also tested negative for COVID-19.
“He’s doing fine, he’s feeling good,” she told reporters of her husband. The first lady said she will keep her schedule and wear a mask, following federal health guidelines.
The president last tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday, officials said. He traveled to Massachusetts on Wednesday and spoke with the public and local leaders about climate change. Anyone who came within close contact of him during this trip will be contacted by the White House Medical Unit as part of standard protocol following a positive case, the White House said.
Biden on Wednesday urged anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to get the shot.
“It’s not in their interest or the public’s interest not to get vaccinated,” he told reporters when asked about rising COVID-19 cases in the U.S. “We have the capacity to control it. They should get vaccinated now.”
There have been more than 1 million U.S. coronavirus deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.