President of the United States Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, highlighting the virus’ longevity as new strains complicate the country’s attempts to get back to normal after two and a half years of pandemic disruptions. Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, stated that Biden was exhibiting “moderate symptoms” and had started taking Paxlovid, an antiviral medication intended to lessen the severity of the illness. Biden “will isolate in the White House and continue to properly perform all of his obligations throughout that period,” she claimed. This morning, he spoke by phone with members of the White House staff. He will participate in his scheduled meetings at the White House this morning by phone and Zoom from his home.
After receiving two doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine shortly before taking office, a first booster shot in September, and a second dose on March 30, Biden, 79, is totally protected. Even with the testing measures in place for those anticipated to be in close contact with him, Biden’s resistance to the virus up until this point seemed to defy the odds. The illness has already spread through the political class in Washington, infecting senators, Vice President Kamala Harris, Cabinet members, White House personnel, and others. Biden has increased his trip frequency and started doing sizable indoor events again where not everyone is put to the test.
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Top White House officials have recently been frank about the president’s chances of contracting COVID, a sign of how pervasive the disease has become and how little of a threat it poses to individuals who have access to treatment and are up to date on their vaccines.
Paxlovid, a medication made by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalizations and fatalities among individuals most prone to develop severe disease when started within five days of the onset of symptoms. In a speech on April 30 to almost 2,600 guests at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, Biden acknowledged the dangers of going to such events but insisted it was still worthwhile. Because of COVID, he acknowledged that there were doubts regarding whether or not we should meet here tonight. We’re here to demonstrate to the nation that we are fighting this pandemic, after all.
The coronavirus has infected more than a dozen other international leaders and high-ranking officials, including French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, making Biden far from the first head of state to contract it.
It was a very different era when Biden’s predecessor, President Donald Trump, was diagnosed with the illness in October 2020. There were no vaccines, and there were few, less-advanced therapy alternatives. Trump was given an experimental antibody therapy and steroids after receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis at the White House when his blood oxygen levels dangerously dropped. He spent three days in the hospital at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The virus continues to disrupt daily life as individuals are compelled to alter plans, isolate themselves, and weigh the risks of participating in various activities. While most of the world has returned to normal rhythms following the first lockdowns to control surges in cases and deaths.