President Biden says 'I'm doing great' after testing positive for COVID-19

Posted at 10:27 AM, Jul 21, 2022

President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday morning and will be working remotely for at least the next five days, the White House said.

Although he is having mild symptoms, he continued to work out of the White House residence, calling officials and family.

The White House said Biden, 79, is taking Paxlovid, which has federal emergency use authorization to treat COVID-19 for high-risk patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that older COVID-19 patients face a higher risk of hospitalization.

Dr. Ashish Jha said that the president had to stop taking two medications while taking Paxlovid. Those medications will resume after he takes Paxlovid for five days.

Biden released a video Tuesday afternoon saying he is feeling well.

The White House said Biden is fully vaccinated, twice boosted and experiencing "very mild symptoms." Dr. Kevin O'Connor released a letter saying Biden's symptoms include a runny nose, fatigue and occasional cough. The symptoms began last night, he said.

Biden last tested negative on Tuesday. He was not tested on Wednesday. Jha said he felt normal on Tuesday and most of Wednesday before testing developing symptoms Wednesday night.

Jha said that it is unknown which COVID-19 variant infected Biden. Despite how contagious COVID-19 has become, Biden has been actively shaking hands and greeting people in recent months.

“We knew this was a possibility with this incredible contagious variant,” Jha said.

Jha added the most important precaution Biden took was to become double boosted.

"Because the president is fully vaccinated, double boosted, his risk of serious illness is dramatically lower," Jha said. "He is also getting treated with a very powerful anti-viral and that further reduces his risk of serious illness."

Biden returned to the White House from the Middle East late Saturday after visiting leaders in Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia. Once returning, Biden had a limited public schedule until Wednesday, delivering remarks on the climate in Somerset, Massachusetts. He did, however, meet with Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska on Tuesday.

First lady Jill Biden told reporters in Detroit she plans to keep her schedule but will be wearing a mask in public, per CDC guidelines. She tested negative this morning.

Vice President Kamala Harris said she talked to Biden on the phone and that he was "doing well."

Biden will isolate for five days. That time could be extended depending on how long Biden tests positive for COVID-19.

"Out of an abundance of transparency, 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," said Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.