“My friends, I’m doing well”: With a calm tone that is his trademark, US President Joe Biden took to Twitter on Thursday, after announcing he had contracted COVID-19 at the age of 79.
The White House has done its best to reassure the health status and ability to rule the United States’ oldest ever elected president, with two dedicated messages on Twitter, a lengthy press conference by its spokeswoman Karen-Jean-Pierre and a statement from the CEO’s personal physician.
“I’ve had twice, with two boosters, and symptoms are mild,” the Democrat said in a nearly twenty-second video, showing him on the White House balcony in a dark suit, sky blue shirt and no tie.
“I am fine, I work a lot and will continue to do so. In the meantime, thank you for taking care of me and keeping faith. Everything will be fine,” he concluded with a slight smile.
Earlier, he tweeted “very well”, with a neatly arranged photo, on his desk, pen in hand and smartphone in hand.
His doctor, Kevin O’Connor, said in a statement that the president first got a positive result Thursday after an antigen test, then confirmed by a PCR test.
After being examined and questioned by his doctor, the president reported some symptoms: “runny nose,” “fatigue,” “occasional dry cough,” and a restless night. Ashish Jha, the US executive response coordinator for COVID-19, said his oxygen levels on Wednesday were “normal.”
Karen Jean-Pierre said the Democrat, who has never tested positive, has started taking paxlovid, Pfizer’s anti-COVID pill, and will self-isolate in the White House until a negative result comes back again.
The White House insisted that the president “will continue to take on all of his duties” from his private apartment, which has promised to provide a daily update on his health.
His wife, Jill Biden, said it tested negative, as did Vice President Kamala Harris.
This positive test comes after a busy few weeks for the president, including two major trips abroad, including last week’s tour of the Middle East.
Like all presidents before him, Joe Biden bears the signs of a weary pregnancy: his gait is more stubborn, his hair more sparse than during his inauguration and his speech at times sharper. A thorough medical examination last November found him to be “strong” and “fit” to perform his duties.
Joe Biden, who was elected in part on a promise to tackle the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, has always stressed his respect for the distancing and mask-wearing instructions.
He also summoned the press to receive doses of his vaccine, hoping to encourage his countrymen to do the same.
Karen Jean-Pierre called Thursday, knowing how he got infected “doesn’t matter,” noting that the White House is currently busy identifying cases of contact around the CEO.
The last negative test for the US head of state dates back to Tuesday.
The United States is currently seeing about 130,000 new cases of COVID-19 virus every day, which is an underestimate according to experts, and the number of hospitalizations is on the rise. The highly contagious BA.5 variant of Omicron accounts for approximately 80% of cases.
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Ashish Jha said analyzes were underway to determine which type infected the president, adding that it would take a few days.
Baxlovid is an antiviral treatment that works by reducing the ability of the virus to multiply, thus stopping the progression of the disease.
This treatment is recommended in the United States for people at high risk of developing severe disease, a category in which the US president falls due to his age.
Joe Biden’s predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, announced on October 2, 2020 on Twitter that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
He was flown by helicopter to Walter Reed Military Hospital and treated there for three nights, without the White House shedding any light on the seriousness of his condition.
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