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President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 for the third day in a row during what appears to be a “rebound” case after treatment with the antiviral Paxlovid.
He tested positive on Saturday after several days of testing negative, which represents a rebound. He tested positive again on Sunday and Monday.
“The President continues to feel well as he starts his week,” Kevin O’Connor, DO, the president’s doctor, wrote in a memo issued Monday morning.
“Given his rebound positivity which we reported Saturday, we continued daily monitoring,” he wrote. “This morning, as could be anticipated, his SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing remained positive.”
Biden will continue to isolate at the White House until he tests negative again and will work from the executive residence, O’Connor said.
“As I have stated previously, the President continues to be very specifically conscientious to protect any of the Executive Residence, White House, Secret Service, and other staff whose duties require any (albeit socially distanced) proximity to him,” O’Connor said.
Biden had six close contacts before testing positive again, and none have tested positive so far, according to ABC News.
After first testing positive on July 21, he was treated with the antiviral drug Paxlovid, which has been linked to the potential for a viral rebound. He had a sore throat, runny nose, cough, body aches, and fatigue.
After 5 days of isolation, Biden tested negative last week, on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, which cleared him to leave isolation while wearing a mask indoors.
He also tested negative on Thursday morning and Friday morning but tested positive late Saturday morning.
“The President has experienced no reemergence of symptoms, and continues to feel quite well,” O’Connor said in a memo on Saturday. “This being the case, there is no reason to reinitiate treatment at this time, but we will obviously continue close observation.”
Biden is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots, but at age 79, he is considered at a higher risk for severe illness, ABC News reported. Paxlovid is recommended to lower the risk of severe illness for those who are high-risk, including people ages 65 and older.
Anthony Fauci, MD, Biden’s chief medical adviser, also had a rebound case after taking Paxlovid, ABC News reported. Like Biden, Fauci, who’s 81, tested negative for 3 days before testing positive again.
Previous studies have suggested that a small number of people who take Paxlovid have a rebound case, according to The Associated Press. But a rebound – rather than a reinfection – could be positive for Biden’s health.
“The fact that the president has cleared his illness and doesn’t have symptoms is a good sign and makes it less likely he will develop long COVID,” Albert Ho, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Yale University, told the AP.