The Perfect Enemy | Biden Tests Positive and Latest Covid News: Live Updates
August 11, 2022

Biden Tests Positive and Latest Covid News: Live Updates

Biden Tests Positive and Latest Covid News: Live Updates  The New York TimesView Full Coverage on Google News

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The physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, wrote in a letter released on Friday that Mr. Biden was still experiencing a runny nose and fatigue, and that he had an “occasional nonproductive, now ‘loose’ cough.” Dr. O’Connor added that Mr. Biden’s temperature had “responded favorably” to Tylenol.

“His voice is deeper this morning,” Dr. O’Connor wrote. “His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation remain entirely normal, on room air.”

The deeper tone in Mr. Biden’s voice was noticeable on Friday, when the president streamed into a briefing on declining gas prices with his economic advisers. In his first public live remarks since testing positive, Mr. Biden cleared his throat multiple times during his remarks and could be heard coughing as other officials spoke. Mr. Biden gave a thumbs up when asked by the reporters how he was feeling.

“It’s great to see the president doing better,” Dr. Ashish Jha, the coordinator for the administration’s Covid response, at a White House briefing on Friday afternoon. “He’s doing better because he’s vaccinated, he’s boosted, he’s getting treatment.”

But Mr. Jha also used the opportunity to issue the United States a warning: “When people are vaccinated and boosted they tend to have far less severe illness. This virus is going to be with us forever.”

During the briefing, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said the White House medical unit had identified 17 people as being in close contact with Mr. Biden, including members of his senior staff. None of the 17 had tested positive as of Friday.

Mr. Jha said the 99.4 degree temperature on Thursday was the highest Mr. Biden experienced in the last 24 hours, although not one he would characterize as an “elevated temperature.”

In his letter, Dr. O’Connor indicated that he did not feel that the president’s temperature of 99.4 was normal until after it responded to Tylenol.

“He did mount a temperature yesterday evening to 99.4°F, which responded favorably to acetaminophen (Tylenol),” Dr. O’Connor wrote. “His temperature has remained normal since then.”

Dr. O’Connor included the temperature in the letter, Dr. Jha said, because doctors often routinely report a patient’s highest temperature in the last 24 hours.

“Certainly not a fever,” Mr. Jha said. said. “All of his vital signs — heat rate, blood pressure, temperature — have all been in the normal range every time he’s had them checked,” he said.

Earlier on Friday, the White House referred to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that states a person is considered to have a fever “when he or she has a measured temperature of 100.4 degrees” or feels warm to touch.

Mr. Jha said he was unaware what Mr. Biden’s temperature was Friday morning.

“It has remained in the normal range,” Mr. Jha said. “The bottom line is the president’s doing better, his vitals are normal, you all saw him, his appetite is good, he’s doing pretty well.”

Mr. Jha said the chances Mr. Biden gets a serious complications have been “dramatically reduced” by building up his immunity and taking anti-viral drugs.

The White House has not yet made Dr. O’Connor available to take questions from the press. Ms. Jean-Pierre said she felt making his letters public were “is enough” and making Dr. Jha available was sufficient.

Mr. Bates said that Dr. O’Connor did not prescribe the Tylenol for the temperature, but rather for Mr. Biden’s “discomfort.” But Mr. Bates declined to say what discomfort the president was experiencing. Officials have said he does not have a sore throat and have not indicated he has other aches and pains.

The president will continue taking his course of Paxlovid, Dr. O’Connor added, as well as Tylenol. He will use his albuterol inhaler “as needed.”

While he is on Paxlovid, Mr. Biden will not take two regular medications — a blood thinner and a pill to reduce cholesterol — Dr. O’Connor wrote, adding that “it is reasonable to add low dose aspirin as an alternative type of blood thinner.”

Dr. Jha said Thursday at a White House briefing that pausing the two medications while Mr. Biden was on the antiviral treatment was “a very standard, common thing that we do when we give people Paxlovid.”

The letter came after Dr. Jha said Friday morning that Mr. Biden had been feeling “just fine” late Thursday night, with a dry cough and a runny nose as his only symptoms.

Dr. Jha said on NBC’s “Today” show that members of Mr. Biden’s staff had talked with the president around 10 p.m. Thursday night.

“His words were, ‘I’m feeling just fine,’” Dr. Jha said. “No change in symptoms. Again, the sort of dry cough, the runny nose, those are his two main things that he was feeling yesterday.”

The White House has in the past taken extraordinary measures to protect the president, though in recent months, Mr. Biden has resumed a more normal presidential schedule.

On the “Today” show, Dr. Jha said that the president was being closely monitored for any signs that his symptoms might be getting worse, including the possibility of any effect on his lungs, which can be one of the more dangerous complications of a coronavirus infection because Covid is primarily a respiratory disease.

So far, Dr. Jha said, there were no such signs.

“His personal physician is also consulting with infectious disease experts around the country, all part of the plan of what we were always planning on doing if the president got infected,” Dr. Jha said. “And so he gets very regular check-ins and, of course, he’s meeting with people all day, by phone and by Zoom and so there’s lots of eyes on him.”

Dr. Jha also downplayed the risks that the president could develop so-called “long Covid,” where symptoms persist for weeks, months or longer. He used a question about that possibility to tout the importance of vaccination.

“If you think about, you know, the proportion of people who end up having significant long-term symptoms, it’s very small and cut substantially if you’ve been vaccinated and boosted, which this president has,” he said.

The first lady, Jill Biden, who was considered a close contact of the president, tested negative on Friday, said Michael LaRosa, her spokesman. Vice President Kamala Harris was also considered a close contact of Mr. Biden as of Thursday, Kirsten Allen, spokeswoman for her office, said on Friday, adding that Ms. Harris tested negative on Friday morning and was experiencing no symptoms.

Both the first lady and vice president have received two boosters. The C.D.C. defines a close contact as someone who was within six feet of an infected individual for a total of at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period.