By Jack Phillips
President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19, the White House confirmed in a statement on Thursday.
Biden, 79, has received a total of four vaccine doses, including two booster shots, according to a brief statement issued by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in confirming the positive test.
“This morning, President Biden tested positive for COVID-19. He is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and experiencing very mild symptoms,” she said. “He has begun taking Paxlovid,” the Pfizer-made drug for COVID-19, the press secretary added.
Thursday’s announcement is the first time Biden contracted the virus. Because of the president’s advanced age, he is considered to be in the at-risk group in terms of developing severe COVID-19.
“Consistent with Centers for Disease Control guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” Jean-Pierre said. “He has been in contact with members of the White House staff by phone this morning, and will participate in his planned meetings at the White House this morning via phone and Zoom from the residence.”
Biden, she added, will work in isolation until he tests negative for COVID-19, the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Once he returns a negative test, he will return to in-person work, the statement said.
“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,” Jean-Pierre said.
She added: “Per standard protocol for any positive case at the White House, the White House Medical Unit will inform all close contacts of the President during the day today, including any Members of Congress and any members of the press who interacted with the President during yesterday’s travel. The President’s last previous test for COVID was Tuesday, when he had a negative test result.”
The positive test comes a day after Biden visited Somerset, Massachusetts, and said he would take executive steps related to the climate, including funding for offshore wind farms in the Gulf of Mexico. There was speculation that he would declare a climate-related emergency, but it did not materialize on Wednesday.
Biden flew to the Massachusetts town on Air Force One.
White House COVID-19 advisor Anthony Fauci earlier this year also confirmed he took Paxlovid after he tested positive for the virus. Days later, Fauci said that he was experiencing so-called “COVID rebound” from the drug after testing negative for the virus for three days.
“After I finished the five days of Paxlovid, I reverted to negative on an antigen test for three days in a row,” Fauci revealed in late June. “And then on the fourth day, just to be absolutely certain, I tested myself again. I reverted back to positive.”
Before that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert to health care providers, public health departments, and others about a possible recurrence of symptoms from the drug, which it termed a “COVID-19 rebound.”