‘As I stated previously, the President is fully vaccinated and twice-boosted, so I anticipate that he will respond favorably, as most maximally protected patients do’
PresidentJoe Biden’s Covid symptoms ”have improved” after a day of antiviral treatments with Paxlovid, Physician to the President Dr Kevin O’Connor said in a memorandum on Friday, the day after the White House announced Mr Biden had tested positive for Covid-19.
Dr O’Connor said Mr Biden’s temperature rose to 99.4 degrees Fahrenheit Thursday evening but returned to normal after he was started on a course of acetaminophen, and has remained so since then.
The former Army physician, who has treated Mr Biden since his time as vice president under Barack Obama, said the 79-year-old president “is tolerating treatment well” and would continue to be treated with Paxlovid “as planned”.
He added that Mr Biden’s regular medications — an anti-cholesterol drug and a blood thinner — are being withheld during the antiviral treatment to guard against adverse reactions, and said the anticoagulant was being temporarily replaced by a low dose of aspirin until “several days after” Mr Biden’s last dose of Paxlovid.
“As I stated previously, the President is fully vaccinated and twice-boosted, so I anticipate that he will respond favorably, as most maximally protected patients do. There has been nothing in the course of his illness thus far which gives me cause to alter that initial expectation,” Dr O’Connor wrote. “Early use of Paxlovid provides additional protection against severe disease. He will isolate in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, and we will continue to monitor him closely, during this very common outpatient treatment regimen”.
In a statement, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Mr Biden, who is screened for Covid-19 on a regular basis, tested positive on Thursday morning.
Ms Jean-Pierre said Mr Biden would follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines by isolating at the White House while carrying out “all of his duties fully during that time”.
“He has been in contact with members of the White House staff by phone this morning, and will participate in his planned meetings at the White House this morning via phone and Zoom from the residence,” she said on Thursday. “Consistent with White House protocol for positive Covid cases, which goes above and beyond CDC guidance, he will continue to work in isolation until he tests negative”.
During a briefing at the White House, Ms Jean-Pierre said she wasn’t sure where Mr Biden contracted Covid, adding “I don’t think that matters”.
Speaking to reporters in Detroit, Michigan, first lady Jill Biden said she spoke to her husband shortly after his positive test became publicly known.
“He’s doing fine,” she said. “He’s feeling good.”
Since Mr Biden took office in January 2021, the possibility that he would contract Covid-19 has been of great concern to his advisers, who until recently have taken great pains to limit his contact with large crowds.
At 79, Mr Biden is the oldest person to be sworn in for a first term as president and is at high risk for severe complications from the virus. But White House officials have said Mr Biden is well-protected by the vaccine and booster doses he has recieved since shortly before he took office.
Mr Biden’s positive test comes amid a resurgence in Covid-19 cases due to new variants and sub-variants of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus, which doctors say are far more contagious than previous iterations and more easily evade the immunity conferred on him by his vaccines and boosters.