President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on the morning of Thursday, July 21, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stating that the president “is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and experiencing very mild symptoms.” In a letter that was made public on Thursday, Biden’s personal physician Kevin O’Connor wrote that his symptoms included a runny nose, a dry cough, and fatigue.
O’Connor noted that Biden would be starting a course of Paxlovid to protect against severe disease, writing, “I anticipate that he will respond favorably, as most maximally protected patients do.” Jean-Pierre stated on Thursday that Biden would isolate at the White House but “continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time.”
Biden’s infection is yet another example of the potency of the Omicron subvariant known as BA.5, which is now the dominant strain of COVID in the U.S. and is the most transmissible variant yet. The daily case average of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. was 129,000 on Tuesday, with cases rising in most states, doing so with particular speed in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Louisiana, and North Dakota. BA.5 infections are similarly on the rise in Europe, where governments are largely abandoning once-stringent COVID mitigation measures.