WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 again on Saturday, a little more than three days after he was cleared to come out of coronavirus isolation, the White House announced, in a rare case of “recovery” after treatment with an antiviral drug.
White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor he said in a letter that Biden “has not relapsed and continues to feel quite well.”
According to the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Biden will return to isolation for at least five days. The agency says most cases of recovery remain mild and that serious illness during this period has not been reported.
News of Biden’s positive test came just two hours after the White House announced a presidential visit to Michigan next Tuesday to highlight the passage of a bill to promote domestic high-tech manufacturing. Biden was also scheduled to visit his home in Wilmington, Delaware on Sunday morning, where first lady Jill Biden has been staying while the president tested positive. Both trips were canceled as Biden returned to self-isolation.
Biden, 79, was treated with the antiviral drug Paxlovid and tested negative for the virus on Tuesday and Wednesday. He was then released from isolation wearing a mask indoors. His positive tests put him among the minority of those prescribed the drug to experience a rebound of the virus.
While Biden tested negative, he returned to hosting internal events and meetings with White House staff and wore a mask, as directed by the CDC. However, the president removed his mask indoors when he delivered remarks on Thursday and during a meeting with CEOs on the White House compound.
Asked why Biden appeared to be violating CDC protocols, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said: “They were socially distanced. They were far enough apart. So we made it safe for them to be together, to be at this stage.”
Regulators are still studying the prevalence and infectivity of rebound cases, but the CDC in May warned doctors that it has been reported to occur within two days to eight days of an initial negative test for the virus.
“The limited information currently available from case reports suggests that people treated with Paxlovid who recover from COVID-19 had mild disease; there are no reports of severe disease,” the agency said at the time.
When Biden was initially released from isolation on Wednesday, O’Connor said the president would “increase the pace of his testing” to arrest any possible resurgence of the virus.
The White House’s coordinator for COVID-19, Dr. Ashish Jha, told reporters on Monday that “clinical data suggests that between 5 and 8 percent of people have recovered” after treatment with Paxlovid.
Paxlovid has been shown to significantly reduce serious illness and death among those most vulnerable to COVID-19. US health officials have encouraged those who test positive to consult their doctors or pharmacists to see if they should be prescribed the treatment, despite the risk of a rebound.
Biden is fully vaccinated, having received two doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine shortly before taking office, a first booster dose in September and an additional dose on March 30.
While patients who have recovered from earlier variants of COVID-19 tend to have high levels of immunity to future re-infection for 90 days, Jha said the BA.5 sub-variant that infected Biden has been shown to be more “immune-resistant”.
“We’ve seen a lot of people re-infected within 90 days,” he said, adding that officials do not yet have data on how long those who have recovered from the BA.5 strain are protected from re-infection.
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Does Biden have COVID again? President tests positive in Paxlovid reboun’ case, White House physician says Source link Does Biden have COVID again? President tests positive in Paxlovid reboun’ case, White House physician says