US President Joe Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 again, just days after the White House said he had been given the go-ahead to leave isolation, in a rare case of a “rebound” after the treatment with an antiviral drug.
White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor said in a letter that Biden “has not experienced a resurgence of symptoms and continues to feel quite well.” O’Connor said “there is no reason to restart treatment at this time.”
In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Biden will go back into isolation for at least five days. She will be isolated at the White House until she tests negative. The agency says most rebound cases remain mild and no serious illnesses have been reported during that period.
Just like when Biden first tested positive, the White House tried to show that he was still working. The president posted a photo of himself masked and without a tie on Twitter, showing him signing a statement adding individual assistance for Kentucky flood survivors.
The president followed up by tweeting a 12-second video of him on a White House balcony with his dog, Commander.
“I feel fine, everything is fine,” Biden said, aviator sunglasses in hand. “But Commander and I have a bit of work to do.”
Biden treated with antiviral drug Paxlovid
The news of Biden’s positive test, which had come back negative on Friday morning, came just two hours after the White House announced a presidential visit to Michigan next Tuesday to highlight the passage of a bill to promote domestic high-tech manufacturing. Biden had also been scheduled to visit her home in Wilmington, Delaware, on Sunday morning, where first lady Jill Biden has been staying while the president tested positive. Both trips have been canceled as Biden has returned to isolation.
Biden, 79, was treated with the antiviral drug Paxlovid after he first tested positive on July 21. He tested negative for the virus last Tuesday and Wednesday. He was then cleared out of isolation while wearing a mask indoors. His positive tests place him among the minority of those prescribed the drug to experience a rebound case of the virus.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told reporters recently that the data “suggests that 5 to 8 percent of people recovered” after Paxlovid treatment.
“Recognizing the potential for so-called ‘rebound’ COVID positivity seen in a small percentage of Paxlovid-treated patients, the President increased his tested cadence, to protect those around him and ensure early detection of any return of infection.” viral replication,” O’Connor wrote in his letter.
O’Connor cited negative tests for Biden from Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, Thursday morning and Friday morning, before Saturday morning’s positive antigen test result. “This, in fact, represents ‘rebound’ positivity,” he wrote.
Paxlovid has been shown to significantly reduce serious illness and death among people most vulnerable to COVID-19. US health officials have encouraged those who test positive to consult their doctors or pharmacists to see if the treatment should be prescribed, despite the risk of rebound.