WASHINGTON — The White House confirmed Saturday that the strain of coronavirus infected president biden several days ago it was probably BA.5, the highly contagious Omicron subvariant it now comprises the majority of new infections in the United States.
“The causal agent of the president is probably the BA.5 variant”, Said a Saturday morning letter from the President’s personal physician, Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor. He added that the confirmation, which came from preliminary genetic sequencing, “does not affect the treatment plan in any way.”
BA.5 now accounts for eight out of 10 new coronavirus cases in the United Statesand although it doesn’t make people sicker than earlier variants, it spreads quickly and evades immune protection from previous infections and vaccines.
Biden is fully vaccinated and received two booster shots — a reminder, the White House has been at pains to point out, that inoculation remains exceptionally effective in preventing serious illness.
The president is also taking paxlovid, a treatment that further reduces the chance of serious or critical illness and is being treated with Tylenol. Biden, who had asthma when he was younger, also uses an albuterol inhaler “as needed” for coughs.
O’Connor said Biden is “not short of breath” and will continue to use “low-dose aspirin as an alternative type of blood thinner.”
“Your symptoms continue to improve,” O’Connor’s letter said, describing those symptoms as sore throat, runny nose, cough and body aches.
“His voice is still deep,” O’Connor wrote.
Despite his COVID diagnosis this week, Biden kept working — becoming part of the overcoming COVID dilemma that millions of people have experienced in the last two and a half years.
He was supposed to head to Pennsylvania on Thursday afternoon and then spend the weekend on the beach in Delaware. Instead, he will isolate himself in the White House until at least the middle of next week.