Biden tests positive for COVID-19, returns to isolation

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 again on Saturday, a little more than three days after he was approved to exit coronavirus isolation, the White House said. In a rare case of “rebound” after treatment with an anti-viral drug.

White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor said in a letter that Biden “has not experienced a re-emergence of symptoms, and is still feeling quite well.”

According to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Biden will re-enter isolation for at least five days. The agency says most rebound cases remain mild and no serious illness has been reported during that period.

Word of Biden’s positive test came just two hours after the White House announced a presidential visit to the White House on Tuesday to highlight the passage of a bill to boost domestic high-tech manufacturing. Biden was also scheduled to visit his home in Wilmington, Delaware on Sunday morning, where First Lady Jill Biden is staying while the president is positive. Both trips have been canceled as Biden returns to isolation.

Biden, 79, was treated with the anti-viral drug Paxlovid, and tested negative for the virus on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then he was allowed to leave the isolation wearing a mask inside the house. His positive test placed him among the minority of those prescribed the drug to experience a rebound case of the virus.

While Biden tested negative, he returned to the White House to attend indoor events and meetings with staff in person and was wearing a mask in accordance with CDC guidelines. But the president removed his mask indoors while making remarks on Thursday and during a meeting with the CEO on the White House complex.

When asked why Biden was violating CDC protocol, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “He was socially distancing. They were far away. So we made it safe for them to be together, to be on that stage.”

Regulators are still studying the prevalence and virulence of rebound cases, but the CDC warned doctors in May that it was reported to occur within two days to eight days after initially testing negative for the virus. .

“The limited information currently available from case reports suggests that individuals treated with Paxlovid who experienced a COVID-19 relapse had mild illness; There are no reports of serious illness,” the agency said at the time.

When Biden was initially released from isolation on Wednesday, O’Connor said the president would “increase his testing cadence” to catch any possible rebound of the virus.

Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 coordinator, told reporters on Monday that “clinical data shows that 5 to 8 percent of people have rebounded after Paxlovid treatment”.

Paxlovid has been proven to reduce serious illness and death in people most vulnerable to COVID-19. US health officials are encouraging people who test positive to consult with their doctors or pharmacists to see if they should be prescribed treatment despite the rebound risk.

After receiving two doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine shortly before taking office, the first booster shot in September and an additional dose on March 30, Biden has been fully vaccinated.

While patients who recover from chronic forms of COVID-19 have a high level of immunity to future re-infection for 90 days, Jha said the BA.5 subvariant that infects Biden is more “immune.” anti-” has been proven.

“We have seen many people re-infect within 90 days,” he said, adding that officials do not yet have data on how many people who have recovered from the ba.5 strain will be treated. Provides protection against re-infection.

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