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Biden likely contracted highly contagious variant of COVID-19: Doctor

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden likely contracted a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus spreading rapidly across the United States, and now has body aches and a sore throat since testing positive, according to an update from his doctor on Saturday.

The variant, known as BA.5, is an offshoot of the omicron strain which emerged late last year, and is thought to be responsible for the vast majority of coronavirus cases in the country. .

Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the president’s physician, wrote in his latest update on Biden’s condition that Biden’s prior symptoms, including a runny nose and cough, have become “less bothersome.” O’Connor’s earlier notes did not mention sore throats or body aches.

Biden’s vital signs, such as blood pressure and respiratory rate, “remain completely normal,” and his oxygen saturation levels are “excellent” with “no shortness of breath at all,” the doctor wrote.

O’Connor said preliminary sequencing results that indicated the BA.5 variant did not affect Biden’s treatment plan in any way.”

Biden tested positive for the virus on Thursday morning. He has since isolated himself in the White House residence. Administration officials stressed that his symptoms are mild because he received four doses of the vaccine and started taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid after being infected.

In a virtual meeting with economic advisers on Friday, Biden was hoarse but insisted, “I feel a lot better than I sound.”

In his previous update on Biden’s health, O’Connor said the president had a high temperature of 99.4 F Thursday night, but returned to normal after taking Tylenol.

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