(NEXSTAR) – President Biden has tested positive for COVID-19, the White House announced on Thursday.
The 79-year-old president is fully vaccinated and has reported mild symptoms, according to press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. His positive PCR test came Thursday morning during a routine screening program, just a day after he returned from a trip to Massachusetts.
Biden was scheduled to travel to Pennsylvania Thursday to speak about gun violence prevention and attend a Democratic National Committee fundraiser. That trip has been canceled.
In a White House memo, physician to the president Dr. Kevin O’Connor said Biden is experiencing “mostly rhinorrhea (or ‘runny nose’) and fatigue, with an occasional dry cough” that started Wednesday evening.
Biden is now taking Paxlovid, an antiviral pill intended to protect patients from severe COVID symptoms. He will also be isolating in the White House, according to O’Connor.
Biden’s symptoms are among the most common for COVID, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. His symptoms are also relatively similar to those former President Trump experienced after testing positive for the virus in October 2020, but so far appear less severe.
At the time, White House physician Sean Conley said Trump had a mild cough, nasal congestion, a fever, and fatigue. A source familiar with the matter said Trump’s vitals were also “very concerning” after he was flown to Walter Reed Medical Center, where he spent three days for treatment.
Months later, sources told The New York Times his symptoms were more serious than Conley noted. Trump was reported nearly put on a ventilator and his blood oxygen percentage level had dipped into the 80s, well below the average upper 90s.
Then-first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID at the same time, but only had a mild cough and a headache. First lady Jill Biden tested negative Thursday morning, spokesman Michael LaRosa said.
Biden is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots, and O’Connor said he anticipates Biden “will respond favorably” to Paxlovid treatment. Vaccines and Paxlovid were not yet available when Trump contracted the virus but he did receive an experimental antibody cocktail produced by Regeneron, the antiviral medication remdesivir, and dexamethasone, a steroid used to treat inflammation.
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