Jill Biden, the first lady, has tested positive for Covid-19, the White House announced Monday evening, but she has only mild symptoms and will remain at the family home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., where she and President Biden spent part of the weekend.
Mr Biden tested negative for the virus after the first lady was diagnosed, a spokeswoman said. The president returned to the White House on Monday evening.
Officials said Mr Biden would continue to perform tests “at a steady cadence” throughout the week and monitor for possible signs of infection.
The first lady’s diagnosis is a reminder that Covid-19 remains a powerful virus in the country.
In recent weeks, public health authorities have noted an increase in the number of Covid infections across the country, although the total number remains low and experts do not believe the United States will experience a dangerous wave of diseases like those that took place at the height of the pandemic. in 2020 and 2021.
Still, scientists have identified new variants of concern, called EG.5 and BA.2.86. EG.5 has become the dominant variant of Covid in the United States and BA.2.86 – although responsible for fewer infections – has more than the usual amount of mutations from the original coronavirus, a fact that worries scientists because it could mean he’s better at evading vaccines.
The effects of Covid-19 on daily life in the United States have largely receded, although it remains a danger for the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
The death toll from the virus is the lowest since the start of the pandemic and is about a tenth of the levels seen in January this year. Few people wear masks when out in public and businesses are no longer closing for fear of the virus spreading.
But doctors are still urging people to get vaccinated. An updated vaccine, expected this fall, is designed to better protect against some of the newer variants.
For Mr. Biden, his wife’s illness is a throwback to the start of his administration, when the virus was raging and the economy was reeling from the shutdowns.
Those days are largely over. Mr. Biden rarely mentions Covid or the pandemic in his speeches. During his Labor Day remarks in Pennsylvania on Monday morning, Mr. Biden made only a cursory reference to the economic effects of the virus.
“We have recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic,” he said. “We’ve added millions more.”
Mr Biden spent Saturday with his wife as the couple traveled to Florida to visit the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia. They spent Sunday at their home in Rehoboth Beach.
If Mr Biden tests positive in the coming days, it could jeopardize his overseas travel plans later in the week. He is due to leave on Thursday for a three-day trip to India, where he is expected to attend a meeting of the Group of 20 world leaders. He must then travel to Vietnam for a day before returning to the United States.