US President Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 and is working remotely from the White House. Biden, who has received a total of four vaccine doses, is taking antiviral medication.
The president tested positive for the disease on Thursday morning, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced, adding that he is “experiencing very mild symptoms.”
Jean-Pierre noted that Biden is “fully vaccinated and twice boosted,” and has begun taking Paxlovid, an antiviral medication produced by Pfizer. Paxlovid was given emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December, and was taken by White House coronavirus czar Dr. Anthony Fauci during his bout of Covid-19 in May, seemingly to no avail.
Biden will perform his presidential duties by phone and attend meetings virtually, the White House stated. He will remain in isolation until he tests negative.
During his presidential campaign in 2020, Biden made fighting the coronavirus pandemic a key promise. Since taking office he has imposed a vaccine mandate on federal workers and government contractors and a mask mandate on federal property. Biden has repeatedly urged Americans to get vaccinated and boosted, claiming last July that “you’re not going to get Covid if you have these vaccinations.”
Biden warned last fall that “our patience is wearing thin” with those who refused to get vaccinated, stating that they could look forward to “a winter of severe illness and death.”
The president’s health made headlines on Wednesday too, when he announced during a speech on climate change that he had cancer as a result of oil pollution. The White House then claimed that Biden was referring to his previous experience with “localized, non-melanoma skin cancers,” which his physician attributed to time spent in the sun as a youth.
Biden is the second US president to catch Covid-19, after Donald Trump fell ill with the disease in October 2020. Trump attributed his recovery from the virus to monoclonal antibody treatment.