US President Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 and is experiencing “mild symptoms,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday.
“This morning, President Biden tested positive for COVID-19. He is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and experiencing very mild symptoms. He has begun taking Paxlovid. 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,” she said.
Biden, 79, did not have a fever Thursday morning, the White House’s coronavirus coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told CN,N. Biden has a runny nose, dry cough and is experiencing some fatigue, Jha said.
First lady Jill Biden told reporters that she tested negative Thursday morning.
“I talked to him just a few minutes ago. He’s doing fine, he’s feeling good,” she told reporters in Detroit.
This is the first time Biden has tested positive for Covid-19. He last tested negative on Tuesday, per Jean-Pierre. Paxlovid is Pfizer’s antiviral drug and is available via emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of mild to moderate Covid-19 in people 12 and older who are at high risk of severe illness. It requires a doctor’s prescription.
Biden received his first two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine ahead of his inauguration in January 2021, his first booster shot in September and his second booster vaccination on March 30.
Due to his age, Biden is at an increased risk for a more severe case of Covid-19, although the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says older adults being fully vaccinated and boosted significantly reduces their risk of hospitalization and death.
Biden had originally been scheduled to travel to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on Thursday for a speech on crime prevention, followed by a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Philadelphia. He was also scheduled to travel to Orlando and Tampa, Florida, on Monday. But Jean-Pierre said Biden would be isolating at the White House “consistent with CDC guidelines.”
Biden has ramped up his engagement with the public over the past year as the White House has shifted its approach toward the pandemic. On Wednesday, Biden traveled to Somerset, Massachusetts, for an event on climate executive actions, where he was seen shaking hands and greeting attendees in the outdoor crowd.
The President’s positive diagnosis comes less than a week after a swing through the Middle East, where he held meetings with world leaders in Israel and Saudi Arabia. While abroad, Biden was seen shaking hands, bumping fists and embracing other leaders.
The White House is currently working on contact tracing for those who may have been close contacts of Biden, per an official, since his positive Covid test. They plan to inform any close contacts on Thursday, including members of Congress and the press.
Biden administration has been affected by Covid-19.
In recent months, a wave of cases among Cabinet members, White House staffers and members of Congress has swept Washington.