President Biden Has COVID
Despite every precaution, the 79-year-old leader of the free world is infected.
WaPo (“Biden tests positive for covid-19, White House says“):
President Biden tested positive for the coronavirus Thursday morning and is experiencing “very mild symptoms,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
Jean-Pierre said Biden has begun taking Paxlovid and will isolate at the White House, consistent with CDC guidelines.
Biden “will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” she said. “He has been in contact with members of the White House staff by phone this morning, and will participate in his planned meetings at the White House this morning via phone and Zoom from the residence.”
Jean-Pierre said Biden would continue to work in isolation until he tests negative.
She said the White House Medical Unit would inform all close contacts of Biden during the day Thursday, including any members of Congress and any members of the media who interacted with him during travel Wednesday.
At this stage of the game, someone who comes into contact with as many people as Biden coming down with the disease seems inevitable. Given his advanced age, though, we’re naturally more concerned.
Biden, 79, is fully vaccinated and boosted, and as president has access to some of the best medical care in the world.
But elderly people often suffer more serious symptoms than younger individuals, and Biden’s positive test is likely to send tremors through the political world and the international community until the course of his disease is clearer.
He’s been cautious:
Throughout his presidency, Biden has taken precautions, including holding meetings via Zoom, wearing a mask during close encounters and conducting gatherings in a socially distanced manner. But the precautions were relaxed somewhat as the pandemic has begun to recede.
Despite covid-19 having increasingly seeped into Biden’s inner circle — infecting everyone from his family members to many of his top advisers — the president had, until Thursday, managed to avoid the illness.
The White House had strict protocols in place to help protect the septuagenarian president, often including masking and staying at least six feet from Biden when indoors.
As each new Biden aide or relative tested positive — Vice President Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, and his daughter, Ashley Biden, to name a few — they were not deemed a “close contact,” and the president managed to avoid major exposure.
While myself and my family have, so far as I can tell, managed to avoid infection thus far, a huge number of friends, colleagues, and other acquaintances have not. And we’re a mostly-vaccinated bunch.
Obviously, I hope the President’s symptoms continue to be mild and that he recovers fully and quickly.