Sunday, August 7, 2022

US President Joe Biden tests positive for Covid

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The US President is showing “mild symptoms” and is taking part in treatment with Paxlovid.

US President Joe Biden had tested positive for Covid-19 and had “very mild symptoms,” the White House said on Thursday.

The 79-year-old Democrat leader has been taking Paxlovid for the disease and will continue to work in isolation until he tests negative, his press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

She said Mr. Biden “will be isolating in the White House and will continue to fully perform all of his duties during this time.” He was in contact with White House staff by phone this morning and will be attending his scheduled White House meetings this morning via phone and Zoom from the residence.”

The White House, meanwhile, will provide daily updates on the president’s health, Ms Jean-Pierre said.

White House physician Kevin O’Connor said in a released note Mr Biden experienced a runny nose, fatigue and an occasional dry cough, which he began experiencing late Wednesday.

Mr. Biden is fully vaccinated, having received two doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine just before taking office, an initial booster shot in September and an additional dose on March 30.

He has not previously had the virus, although it has gripped the administration including Vice President Kamala Harris, cabinet members, White House staffers and politicians.

Mr. Biden has increasingly intensified his travel schedule, returning to holding large indoor events where not everyone is tested.

Senior White House officials have been matter-of-fact for the past few months about the likelihood of the President catching Covid.

Mr. Biden’s administration faces major challenges, including rising inflation and Russia’s land attack on Ukraine. Its popularity has plummeted over the past year.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll completed Tuesday found that 36 percent of Americans approve of his job performance.

Mr. Biden is regularly tested for the disease, and everyone who meets or travels with him is tested beforehand, the White House said. He was last tested negative on Tuesday.

When the Pfizer Inc. antiviral drug Paxlovid, which he takes, is given within the first five days of infection, it has been shown to reduce the risk of serious illness by almost 90 percent in high-risk patients.

But Paxlovid has been linked to rebound infections in some cases, where patients improve quickly and test negative after five days of treatment with the drug, but then symptoms return days later.

dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suffered a rebound infection four days after completing his first treatment with Paxlovid and was given a second round of the drug, said Dr. Fauci in an interview this week.

Biden’s predecessor in the White House, Donald Trump, fell ill with Covid-19 and was hospitalized for three nights in October 2020.

Mr. Biden is fully vaccinated and received his second booster shot in March.

The risk of an unvaccinated person aged 65 and over being hospitalized after contracting Covid-19 is ten times that of a vaccinated person.

Unlike Mr Trump, Mr Biden consistently wore a mask in public when case numbers were high and before he was vaccinated.

He also instituted strict Covid-19 safety protocols at the White House, urged Americans to take the virus seriously and advocated for everyone to be fully vaccinated.

However, Mr. Biden has stopped wearing a mask at public events in recent months and the White House dropped its mask requirement ahead of his March 1 State of the Union address.

Mr Biden joins a list of other world leaders who have contracted Covid since the pandemic began in early 2020. These include British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Prince Albert II of Monaco. All have recovered.

With agencies

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