Biden tests positive for coronavirus, experiencing ‘very mild symptoms’

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting.

As the oldest president, at 79, ever to hold the office, Joe Biden’s diagnosis is cause for concern, although his vaccination regimen could help him avoid serious complications from the virus.

President Joe Biden has tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House announced Thursday.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday that Biden is “experiencing very mild symptoms” of COVID-19.

“He has begun taking Paxlovid,” Jean-Pierre said. “Consistent with [U.S. Centers for Disease Control] guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time.”

As the oldest president, at 79, ever to hold the office, Biden’s diagnosis is cause for concern, although his vaccination regimen may help him avoid serious complications from the virus.

He received a fourth vaccine dose on March 30 and was found to be in good health during his annual physical last November.

But the president’s positive test comes amid a continuing wave of high-profile COVID-19 diagnoses in Washington, as Cabinet members, senior aides and lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) have all contracted the virus.

Aware of the public’s fatigue with mask mandates and other public health directives, Biden has sought to convince the nation that the resumption of normal — and unmasked — gatherings is fine as long as people have been vaccinated, while urging Congress to approve additional funding to ensure that vaccines and test kits remain available.

Biden’s positive test is also a reminder of how difficult it can be to eliminate the potential for infection, even for someone as protected as the president. Everyone who travels or meets with Biden must be tested beforehand, according to the White House, and masks are required in the building.

Former President Donald Trump, whose White House was much more lax about coronavirus procedures such as mask wearing, also contracted the virus while he was in office.

Because his case predated vaccines, Trump became severely ill. He was given oxygen and an experimental antibody treatment, and he was hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for three days.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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