Biden tests positive for COVID-19

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President Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday morning, the White House announced.

In a statement, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Biden, 79, is experiencing “very mild symptoms” and has begun taking Paxlovid, an antiviral therapy that was recommended by Dr. Kevin O'Connor, the president's physician.

According to O'Connor, Biden began experiencing symptoms — a runny nose, fatigue and an occasional dry cough — on Wednesday evening.

The president will continue to work remotely from his residence at the White House, where he is expected to self-isolate for at least five days, according to current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jean-Pierre said that Biden has been in contact with members of the White House staff by phone and will participate in his planned meetings "via phone and Zoom" from the residence.

President Biden speaks about climate change and clean energy at Brayton Power Station in Somerset, Mass., on Wednesday.
President Biden speaks about climate change and clean energy at Brayton Power Station in Somerset, Mass., on Wednesday. (Evan Vucci/AP)

"Once he tests negative, he will return to in-person work,” Jean-Pierre said. His last previous test for COVID was Tuesday, which was negative.

"Out of an abundance of transparency," she added, "the White House will provide a daily update on the president’s status as he continues to carry out the full duties of the office while in isolation."

According to a White House official, Vice President Kamala Harris, who was last with Biden on Tuesday, tested negative. Her trip to Charlotte, N.C., went on as planned.

First lady Jill Biden, who is in Detroit, told reporters she tested negative on Thursday morning and will keep up with her travel schedule while wearing a mask and socially distancing, according to CDC guidelines.

She added that the president is "doing fine."

“I talked to him just a few minutes ago," she said. "He’s doing fine, he’s feeling good.”

In a subsequent tweet, the president — who had been scheduled to travel to Wilkes-Barre, Pa. — said he was feeling "great."

He posted a follow-up video as well.

Biden is fully vaccinated and twice-boosted. He received his first two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shortly before his inauguration in January 2021. He received a Pfizer booster shot in September and another one in late March.

The president had appeared maskless at several events in recent days, including at an event in Somerset, Mass., on Wednesday, shaking hands with supporters on a rope line as he was flanked by current and former lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and presidential climate envoy John Kerry.

The White House Medical Unit is in the process of contacting anyone who interacted with Biden on the trip, Jean-Pierre said.

President Biden greets supporters after delivering remarks on climate change in Somerset, Mass., on Wednesday.
Biden greets supporters in Somerset, Mass., on Wednesday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

News of Biden’s positive test comes amid a surge in cases across the United States that is being driven by more transmissible Omicron subvariants, such as BA.5.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 90 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic — far more than in any other country in the world.

More than 1,025,000 Americans have died as a result of complications from COVID-19.

Read the memo from the president's physician below.