President Biden tested positive for COVID-19 yet again Friday as his “rebound” infection persisted for a seventh day — meaning he must remain quarantined at the White House.
Biden’s physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor wrote in a public memo that “[t]his morning, his SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing remained positive” and that the president “will continue his strict isolation measures as previously described.”
The White House has not let Dr. O’Connor take questions from reporters since Biden first tested positive on July 21, arguing he isn’t sick enough to justify such transparency.
The continued illness threatens Biden’s plan to resume in-person events next week — including a planned Monday trip to tour storm-damaged areas of Kentucky and a planned Rose Garden bill-signing event Wednesday to increase funding for veteran disability benefits and medical care linked to toxic smoke inhaled in war zones.
Biden completed a five-day regimen of antiviral Paxlovid last week and tested negative last Tuesday and Wednesday, but the virus resurfaced in daily testing Saturday after the president had for three days resumed in-person White House engagements.
O’Connor wrote Friday that Biden has minimal symptoms, despite testing positive.
The president, 79, “continues to feel very well. His cough has almost completely resolved,” O’Connor wrote. “His temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation remain entirely normal. His lungs remain clear.”
Biden, the oldest-ever US president, began to experience symptoms on the evening of Wednesday July 20 and tested positive the following morning, according to prior disclosures from O’Connor.
The president fell ill less than four days after he returned to the White House from a trip to Saudi Arabia to make peace with killer crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The White House has sought to tamp down speculation about how Biden contracted the virus.
Biden managed to avoid the virus for more than two years in part because White House aides and reporters who came in close contact with him had to get tested beforehand.
Biden’s advanced age and history of asthma put him at elevated risk of serious illness, though the fact that he received four doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine reduced that risk.
Since March 2020, the virus has killed more than 1 million Americans.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday told reporters that Biden will have to test negative twice before he ends his quarantine.
“We won’t see him again until, at least in person … until he has that negative test,” she confirmed.