US President Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid-19, the White House said Thursday.
The 79-year-old president, who is fully vaccinated and has received two Covid booster shots, is experiencing “very mild symptoms,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. Biden previously tested negative on Tuesday.
Biden has begun taking Paxlovid, an antiviral pill that can reduce the risk of hospitalization for people who test positive for Covid, the press secretary said.
The president’s symptom include a dry cough, runny nose and fatigue, White House physician Kevin O’Connor said in a memorandum. Those symptoms began Wednesday evening, O’Connor said.
“I anticipate that he will respond favorably, as most maximally protected patients do,” the physician added.
First lady Jill Biden told reporters in Detroit, Michigan, on Thursday morning that her husband is “feeling good.”
“I talked to him just a few minutes ago, he’s doing fine,” Jill Biden said. She is considered a close contact to the president, but tested negative for Covid on Thursday and is following CDC social distancing guidelines, her office said.
Biden will work in isolation until he tests negative for the virus, Jean-Pierre said. He will hold all of his planned meetings remotely Thursday.
Jean-Pierre will hold a press briefing in the afternoon, accompanied by White House Covid response coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha.
Biden attended an event in Massachusetts on Wednesday to announce policies to fight climate change. Lawmakers and administration officials in attendance included Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, D-Mass., climate envoy John Kerry and climate advisor Gina McCarthy.
It was unclear if any of those officials are considered close contacts with Biden under CDC guidelines.
At the time of the White House’s announcement, Vice President Kamala Harris, 57, was flying on Air Force Two to Charlotte, North Carolina, where she was scheduled to discuss the Biden administration’s investments in high-speed internet and meet with state leaders, her office told NBC. No decision yet has been made to change her schedule, NBC reported.
The first lady said she planned to keep her schedule in Detroit, where she was set to visit public schools and discuss how federal funds are being used to address students’ mental health issues and Covid-related learning disruptions.