United State (US) President, Joe Biden, has tested positive for COVID-19, the White House announced on Thursday.
Biden, who is fully vaccinated and twice boosted is said to experiencing very mild symptoms, according to a statement by White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre.
She said he has begun taking Paxlovid, a standard course of treatment for people who are considered to be at higher risk of adverse affects of COVID-19, including anyone over 50.
“The president will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time. 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,” Jean-Pierre said.
Biden’s last COVID-19 test was on Tuesday, when he had a negative test result, the statement said.
A letter from Dr. Kevin O’Connor, Biden’s physician, said the president was experiencing a runny nose and fatigue, with an occasional dry cough, which started yesterday evening.
“The president is fully vaccinated and twice-boosted, so I anticipate that he will respond favorably, as most maximally protected patient do. Early use of Paxlovid in this case provides additional protection against severe disease,” Jean–Pierre quoted O’Connor’s letter as saying.
While vaccines, booster shots and antivirals reduce the chances for severe illness or hospitalisation from COVID-19, the virus presents an increased risk to older people. At 79, Biden is the oldest president in U.S. history.
“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 to Somerset, Mass.,” the statement said.
Biden’s diagnosis comes amid yet another COVID-19 wave in the US, driven by the BA.5 variant.