President Joe Biden tests negative days after contracting COVID-19

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday evening, days after White House officials announced he had contracted the viral infection, officials said Wednesday.

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The 79-year-old president also tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday morning, according to a memorandum from his physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor. Biden had tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

“He remains fever-free and he discontinued use of any acetaminophen (TYLENOL) for the past 36 hours,” O’Connor said Wednesday. “His symptoms have been steadily improving, and are almost completely resolved.”

Speaking Wednesday from the Rose Garden at the White House, Biden said he was “feeling great.”

“Thankfully my symptoms were mild,” the president said. “I’m feeling great.”

He said he was infected with the BA.5 variant of COVID-19. The variant accounted for more than 80% of COVID-19 cases reported the week of July 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The reality is that BA.5 means that many of us are still going to get COVID even if we take precautions,” Biden said. “That doesn’t mean we are doing anything wrong. Unfortunately this ... is still with us, as it has been for 2 1/2 years. But our fight against COVID is making a huge difference.”

The president noted that although COVID-19 cases are climbing, deaths attributed to the virus have fallen by nearly 90% since he took office. He credited the availability of booster shots, at-home COVID-19 tests and easy to use, effective treatments for the change.

Earlier Wednesday, Biden shared a photo of a negative COVID-19 test on social media and thanked people for their support.

Last week, O’Connor said Biden was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms including a runny nose, fatigue and an occasional dry cough. He began a course of Paxlovid, an antiviral treatment aimed at reducing the severity of the disease, which he finished on Tuesday.

O’Connor said Biden will “wear a well-fitting mask for 10 full days any time he is around others” as a precaution after he completed five days of isolation.

Biden is the second president to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Former President Donald Trump, who was in office at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, tested positive for the viral infection in October 2020.

Several other world leaders have also gotten COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and others.

Since the start of the pandemic, officials have reported more than 90.7 million cases of COVID-19 nationwide, resulting in over 1 million deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, 572.6 million cases have been reported, resulting in 6.3 million deaths, according to the university.