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Biden tests positive for Covid, but is ‘keeping busy’

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The president is experiencing “very mild” symptoms and is isolating at the White House.

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President Joe Biden tested positive for Covid, the White House said on Thursday, raising concerns about his immediate health and underscoring the pandemic’s persistent shadow over his presidency.

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The White House said that Biden, who is fully vaccinated and doubly boosted, was experiencing “very mild” symptoms. He has also begun taking Pfizer’s antiviral pill Paxlovid.

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 The drug, when taken within five days of symptoms appearing, has been found to reduce risk of hospitalization and death by nearly 90 percent among adults at highest risk of facing severe illness.

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“Consistent with CDC guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. 

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This isolation period will last at least five days, but the president will not return to normal activities until he’s received a negative antigen test, White House Covid response coordinator Ashish Jha said during Thursday’s press briefing, noting that the White House goes “beyond” CDC Covid guidance.

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Biden took the PCR test as part of a routine screening program, Kevin C. O’Connor, the president’s physician, wrote in a letter.

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The president began experiencing mild symptoms, including a runny nose, fatigue and an occasional cough, on Wednesday evening, according to the doctor.

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He also reported having a restless sleep, Jha said, adding that Biden is breathing well with normal oxygen levels.

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The exact timing of when Biden’s symptoms began is unclear, as his doctor suggested his cough and runny nose began Wednesday evening, while Jha said these symptoms began Thursday morning.

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