A White House spokesperson has announced that 79-year-old US President Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid-19. The president is said to have ”very mild symptoms” and is fully vaccinated with two vaccines and two booster doses.
White House Covid coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told CNN that the president had a dry cough, runny nose, and fatigue, but had not experienced any fever. This is the first time that the president has tested positive for Covid-19.
Biden had been scheduled to travel to Pennsylvania on 21 July to deliver a speech at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser on crime prevention, before moving on to Orlando and Tampa in Florida.
Biden is now reported to be self-isolating at the White House until he receives a negative test result. Notably, the president is taking Paxlovid, Pfizer’s anti-covid pill, which is usually reserved for those most at risk of serious hospitalisation as a result of Covid-19 infection. The new drug is said to reduce the risk of serious illness by 89%.
The White House is now conducting contact tracing for those who may have been close to Biden. The positive test result comes after a visit to several Middle Eastern countries, where he had exposure to many diplomats and civilians.
The Covid infection is just one in a string of cases in recent months. Several high-level members of the US administration have become ill, including Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice, and many others.