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Biden confirms he has a cold, tested negative for Covid

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  • Joe Biden
    Joe Biden
    46th and current president of the United States

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Friday he caught a cold from his grandson and had tested negative for all of the Covid strains in response to questions about his raspy voice.

“What I have is a 1-and-a-half-year-old grandson who’s got a cold and likes to kiss his pop,” Biden said.

The president's physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, said in a letter Friday afternoon that Biden was experiencing "increased nasal congestion this week" and had been tested for 19 common respiratory pathogens, including Covid, influenza and streptococcus. All tests were negative.

Biden will be treated with common over-the-counter medications, O'Connor said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told NBC News on Thursday that Biden had a raspy voice because he's been talking a lot and has acid reflux as well as allergies. Psaki said Biden, who traveled to the National Institutes of Health on Thursday, has not been advised to stay off the road.

“There haven’t been new concerns raised,” Psaki said Thursday.

After conducting Biden’s annual physical, O’Connor wrote this month that the president, who turned 79 on Nov. 20, had an excessive cough and an "increasing frequency and severity of 'throat clearing.'" But he noted that Biden has experienced this behavior "for as long as I have known him.”

Biden's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on MSNBC Thursday night that he also had a cold and has been taking repeated Covid tests. He said he stayed home Monday as a precaution.

“I had a cold this week, I was out on Monday actually because I had a cold,” Fauci said. “We used a bunch of tests this week to make sure — test and test again — that this is not Covid. We're not exposing people, negative after negative after negative.”

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