Biden now nearly free of COVID symptoms, doctor says

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WASHINGTON — Up-to-date vaccination and a powerful treatment have combined to help President Biden fight off the coronavirus, his personal physician said Monday.

“His symptoms have now almost completely resolved,” Dr. Kevin O’Connor wrote in the latest of his daily updates on Biden’s health. “When questioned, at this point he only notes some residual nasal congestion and minimal hoarseness.”

Biden is likely to continue testing positive for the coronavirus for several more days. And he will wear a mask in public after his five-day isolation period ends on Tuesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in its COVID-19 guidance that masks should be worn for five days following the end of isolation.

The president was infected with the highly transmissible BA.5 subvariant of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus. He was most likely infected early last week or perhaps as he was leaving the Middle East the week before. And he was most likely to have infected someone else a couple of days after his symptoms first showed up — that is, late last week.

President Biden on the phone at the White House.
President Biden on July 22. (White House via Twitter)

Biden’s progress indicates that vaccines and therapeutics are effective at preventing serious and critical illness. He is vaccinated and has had two booster shots. And upon learning last Thursday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, he began treatment with Paxlovid, a potent drug that keeps patients out of the hospital if taken soon after an infection has been confirmed.

“The President continues to tolerate treatment well,” O’Connor wrote. “We will continue PAXLOVID as planned.” He added that the president’s respiratory rate and blood oxygen level were among several factors that show he has fully avoided any of the serious damage that COVID-19 can cause, particularly in older people.

Biden had planned to spend the weekend at his beach house in Delaware but instead remained in Washington as the city broiled under a heat wave. It is unclear when he will resume traveling again.