Joe Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time and is returning to isolation, his White House doctor said Saturday, attributing the result to “rebound” positivity from treatment the US president received.
Biden “tested positive late Saturday morning, by antigen testing,” following four consecutive days of negative tests, and “will reinitiate strict isolation procedures,” presidential physician Kevin O’Connor wrote in a memorandum.
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“This in fact represents ‘rebound’ positivity,” O’Connor said, referring to a situation in which patients treated with the drug Paxlovid – as Biden was – clear the virus but test positive after completing their course.
“The president has experienced no re-emergence of symptoms and continues to feel quite well. This being the case, there is no reason to reinitiate treatment at this time,” he added.
In a tweet, Biden seemed to seek to minimize the situation.
“Folks, today I tested positive for COVID again. This happens with a small minority of folks,” he wrote.
“I’ve got no symptoms but I am going to isolate for the safety of everyone around me. I’m still at work, and will be back on the road soon.”
Biden cancelled planned trips to Delaware and Michigan, the White House said.
As the oldest US president in history – he will turn 80 in November – Biden’s health receives constant attention.
He contrasted his seemingly quick recovery to Trump’s more serious bout with the disease in October 2020, before vaccines were available.
“When my predecessor got Covid, he had to get helicoptered to Walter Reed Medical Center,” Biden said. “He was severely ill. Thankfully, he recovered. When I got Covid, I worked from upstairs of the White House.”
He added that being fully vaccinated, taking preventative tests, and then using the Paxlovid therapeutic prevents deaths and is available at no cost.
“You don’t need to be president to get these tools,” he said.
O’Connor had warned after clearing Biden from his first round of Covid that the president would wear a mask for 10 days when around others and continue to test regularly in case of a “rebound.”