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Biden's Covid symptoms 'continue to improve,' doctor says

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President Joe Biden's Covid symptoms "continue to improve" after he completed his second full day of treatment on the antiviral Paxlovid Friday night, his doctor said Saturday in a letter.

“His primary symptoms, though less troublesome, now include sore throat, rhinorrhea, loose cough and body aches,” White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor wrote. “His voice remains deep. His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature remain entirely normal. His oxygen saturation continues to be excellent on room air. His lungs remain clear.”

Biden, 79, will continue to take Paxlovid as planned, O’Connor continued, and his symptoms will continue to be "treated supportively" with oral hydration, Tylenol and an inhaler that he uses as needed, two to three times a day, for cough.

"He is experiencing no shortness of breath at all. He will continue low-dose aspirin as an alternative type of blood thinner," O'Connor said.

The president tested positive for Covid on Thursday, and had been fully vaccinated and twice boosted, the White House said.

First lady Jill Biden, who is at the couple's home in Wilmington, Delaware, tested negative on Saturday and has no symptoms, said her spokesperson, Michael LaRosa.

O'Connor said Saturday that preliminary sequencing results indicate the president's causative agent is likely the Covid subvariant known as BA.5, which is now responsible for most coronavirus infections in the U.S. This information does not affect Biden's treatment plan, the doctor added.

White House Covid response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha confirmed that Biden was infected with the highly contagious strain in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation." "It is the BA.5 variant," he said, "but thank goodness our vaccines and therapeutics work well against it, which is why I think the president’s doing well."

Jha added in an interview with ABC News' "This Week" that as of late Saturday none of the 17 people deemed to be close contacts with Biden have tested positive for Covid.

"They’re following CDC protocol and we’ll continue to follow them," he said.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain, one of Biden's close contacts, told NBC News he tested negative for Covid Saturday.

The president had several virtual meetings scheduled for Friday, including his daily intelligence briefing, a meeting with his economic team to discuss gas prices, and a meeting with senior staff to discuss his legislative agenda, the White House said.

During the virtual briefing on gas prices, Biden sounded hoarse and cleared his throat several times when discussing the drop in gas prices and the steps he plans to take next. “Let me start by apologizing for my voice. I’m feeling much better than I sound,” he said.

Biden's Twitter account shared a photo of the president at the meeting Friday evening, writing, "Gas prices are declining at one of the fastest rates we have seen in over a decade — we’re not letting up on our work to lower costs even further."

CORRECTION (JULY 22, 2022, 11:04 A.M. ET): A previous version of this article misstated how many close contacts Biden had for Covid. It was 17, not 19.