WASHINGTON — President Biden continues to “significantly improve” after testing positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, his doctor, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, said Sunday.
According to a letter published by Dr O’Connor, Mr Biden did not suffer from any shortness of breath or reduced oxygen levels, and his main symptom on Sunday was a sore throat – a result of the immune response. Dr O’Connor added that the president would continue to self-isolate but is ‘responding to treatment as expected’.
Officials said the president began experiencing symptoms – including a mild fever, runny nose and dry cough – on Wednesday. But on Sunday, Dr O’Connor said these had “significantly decreased”.
During an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that BA.5 – a sub-variant of Omicron which now accounts for 75 to 80% of new coronavirus cases in the United States – caused Mr. Biden’s illness.
Dr. Jha also told ABC’s “This Week” that on Saturday night none of the 17 people considered close contacts of Mr. Biden had tested positive for the virus.
After announcing last week that the president had contracted the virus, officials said he would self-isolate at the White House for at least five days, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the days that followed, officials repeatedly described Mr Biden’s symptoms as ‘mild’ and stressed that he had been able to continue working, in large part because he had received all doses of the vaccine. recommended.
“I suspect this will be a course of Covid that we’ve seen in many Americans who have been fully vaccinated, double-boosted, treated with these tools in hand,” Dr. Jha said. “You know, the president is fine, and we’re going to expect him to continue to be.”
Beyond the protection offered by the vaccine, Mr. Biden, 79, also received Paxlovid, an antiviral drug used to guard against serious illnesses. In particular, it protects people in high-risk categories, including people over the age of 65.
“Thank goodness our vaccines and therapeutics work well against that, which is why I think the president is fine,” Dr Jha said.
Mr Biden’s illness comes as BA.5 has caused a new wave of infections across the United States, including among many who were vaccinated and recovered from a previous Covid infection relatively recently. BA.5, considered the most transmissible variant so far, has dominated the United States for several weeks, and since then Covid hospitalizations have climbed more than 15% in the past 14 days.
While Mr. Biden’s case has so far not appeared to have disrupted his work schedule much, public health officials have taken the opportunity to implore those who have been infected to get proper rest. , and to urge those who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated in order to avoid serious illness.
“It’s a reminder for everyone,” Dr. Jha said at a press conference Thursday after the president’s announcement. “If you are over 50 and haven’t had a vaccine in 2022, you need to get one. You need to buy one now because it will significantly improve your level of protection.