Biden feeling ‘much, much better’ after COVID-19 BA.5 infection

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said Sunday that President Joe Biden is "feeling much, much better" after testing positive for the virus on Thursday. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI

July 24 (UPI) — President Joe Biden is “feeling much, much better” after testing positive for COVID-19, White House coronavirus response coordinator Ashish Jha said Sunday.

Jha confirmed to CBS News’Face the Nation” that Biden’s condition has improved since he tested positive for the virus on Thursday and had been treated with the antiviral Paxlovid.

“I checked with his team late last night. He was feeling well. He had a good day yesterday. He’s got a viral syndrome, an upper respiratory infection … and he’s doing just fine. So we haven’t gotten any updates this morning but through last night, he was feeling much, much better,” Jha said.

He also confirmed that Biden, who is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots, was infected with the BA.5 subvariant of the Omicron variant which is more transmissible than other variants.

“So it is the BA.5 variant, which is about 80% of infections,” said Jha. “But thank goodness, our vaccines and therapeutics work well against it, which is why I think the president’s doing well.”

Biden’s physician, Kevin O’Connor, said in a letter Sunday that the president had completed his third full day of treatment with Paxlovid Saturday night.

O’Connor said Biden’s symptoms “continue to improve significantly” with sore throat as his predominant symptom as of Sunday.

“This is most likely a result of lymphoid activation as his body clears the virus, and is thus encouraging,” he said. “His rhinorrhea, cough and body aches have diminished considerably.”

The doctor added that Biden will continue to isolate in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines as he recovers.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN’s State of the Union that he had not spoken to Biden “in the last few days” but said the White House COVID-19 task force had briefed the administration that the has continued working after his positive test.

“I know he’s working actually, because, on Thursday, I got a call from the White House about something on transportation that he had asked me to follow up on,” Buttigieg said. “So, looking forward to being able to be back in a room with him and obviously wishing him a speedy path back to 100%.”

Jha said the White House would “absolutely” continue to disclose if Biden “has long-term symptoms from this infection.”

“You know, we think it’s really important for the American people to know how well the president’s doing, which is why we have been so transparent, giving updates several times a day, having people hear from me directly, hear directly from his physician,” he said.


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