The White House said in a statement that President Joe Biden tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday and is experiencing mild symptoms.
The president, who is 79 years old, is fully immunized against COVID-19, but given his age, the development is bound to raise concerns about his health. According to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden is taking Paxlovid, an antiviral therapy used to treat COVID-19 patients.
President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 this morning.
He has been fully vaccinated and twice boosted, and his symptoms are very mild. He has started taking Paxlovid. “He will isolate at the White House in accordance with CDC guidelines and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
According to a memorandum from Biden’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the president has a runny nose, fatigue, and a “occasional dry cough” that began on Wednesday evening. O’Connor advised Biden to begin taking Paxlovid.
“Because the President has been fully vaccinated and twice-boosted, I expect him to respond favorably, as most maximally protected patients do,” O’Connor wrote.
The announcement came just hours before Biden was set to leave for Pennsylvania to speak about gun violence prevention and attend a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.
Biden, who has never tested positive for the virus, returned home from a trip to the Middle East over the weekend and is scheduled to speak about climate change in Massachusetts on Wednesday.
He has been hosting large gatherings and interacting with supporters on the road in recent weeks as the White House seeks a return to normalcy despite the pandemic. In March, Biden received his second COVID-19 booster shot.
According to Jean-Pierre, Biden spoke with members of his staff by phone that morning and planned to participate in meetings via phone and Zoom from the White House residence.
She stated that Biden would isolate himself until he tested negative for the virus, and that the White House would provide daily updates on his health. The White House medical unit will also notify Biden’s close contacts, she said, adding that Biden last tested negative on Tuesday.
According to Michael LaRosa, a spokesman for first lady Jill Biden, she tested negative in Detroit on Thursday morning and will continue with her full schedule in Michigan and Georgia, where she is touring summer learning programs with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
“She will continue to follow CDC guidelines for masking and distancing,” LaRosa wrote in an email.
Biden joins a growing list of White House officials who have been infected with the virus, including Vice President Harris, who tested positive in April. West Wing officials have received extensive vaccinations.