President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, the White House said.
Despite his demanding social agenda, Biden contracted COVID-19 more than two years into the pandemic.
Experts said he avoided the disease because he wore a mask, was tested frequently and is up to date on boosters.
President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, becoming the second president of the United States to be infected by the virus in so many years.
The White House said in a statement that the 79-year-old man, who is fully vaccinated and twice boosted, is experiencing “very mild symptoms” and is taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid.
Despite Biden years — making you more vulnerable to infection — and the many people you meet as part of his job, experts say he probably managed to avoid getting sick for more than two years of the pandemic because he routinely wore a mask, took frequent tests and kept up to date on his vaccinations.
BA.4 and BA.5 make it harder to avoid COVID now
It’s “certainly possible” that wearing masks and frequent testing helped Biden avoid getting infected for so long, Dr. Seth Cohen, medical director of infection prevention at the University of Washington, told Insider.
“I think this reflects that the nature of his job, and that of many Americans, makes it nearly impossible to avoid Omicron entirely, but clearly there are steps people can take to lower their risk,” Cohen said.
“There’s just very, very high rates of COVID transmission right now in a lot of communities in the US and I think him getting COVID reflects that.”
The nation is averaging more than 126,000 new cases daily and has seen a steady rise in infections since late March, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fueling the current surge in cases are the highly infectious BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron Subvariantswhich can evade better vaccine protection and reinfect people more easily and quickly than previous versions of the virus.
Cohen said there is “very, very strong data” showing that it is important to be fully powered to prevent severe outcomes of COVID. He stressed that the BA.5 variant is “really adept” at permeating social groups and seeking out those who are vulnerable.
Dr. Michael Klompas, an infectious disease expert at Harvard Medical School, agreed. He told Insider that it’s “not that surprising” that Biden ultimately tested positive.
He echoed Cohen, saying “aggressive” testing from those around the president has helped protect Biden so far.
But Klompas also said there is “a lot” of COVID, and Biden doesn’t always “wear a mask while interacting with people” these days.
“He’s clearly in a kind of more permissive state now compared to what he was doing before,” the doctor said. “She seems to be interacting with a lot of people recently.”
After Biden’s positive test was revealed Thursday morning, the president tweeted a photo of himself. without mask at his desk, and said, “Guys, I’m doing great.
A letter Kevin O’Connor, Biden’s doctor, said the president’s positive test came during a “routine screening” and his “mild symptoms” include a runny nose, fatigue and an occasional dry cough.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Biden will remain in isolation for at least five days until he tests negative for COVID-19.
Cohen and Klompas said they hope Biden’s illness doesn’t last too long.
“I have every expectation that, like most people who have COVID these days, in the context of vaccination, he’s going to have a few days feeling bad and then he’ll be fine,” Klompas said. “A healthy, vigorous person with 4 injections, their risk of a poor outcome is incredibly low.”
Read the original article at Business Insider