WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – Joe Biden, the oldest person ever to serve as president of the United States, has tested positive for COVID-19, is experiencing mild symptoms and will continue working but in isolation, the White House said on Thursday.
Biden, 79, has a runny nose, fatigue and an occasional dry cough, which he began to experience late on Wednesday, White House physician Kevin O’Connor said in a note made public on Thursday. Biden has begun taking the antiviral treatment Paxlovid, O’Connor said.
“He is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and experiencing very mild symptoms,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
“Consistent with CDC guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” she said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The White House will provide a daily update on the president’s health, Jean-Pierre said.
Biden’s administration is facing major challenges including soaring inflation and Russia’s land assault on Ukraine. His popularity has dropped sharply over the past year. A Reuters/Ipsos survey completed on Tuesday showed 36% of Americans approve of his job performance.
Multiple members of Biden’s administration and other senior figures in Washington have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent months, including Vice President Kamala Harris in April, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
All have since tested negative and resumed working.
U.S. stocks briefly headed lower following reports of the president’s diagnosis, with the S&P 500 (.SPX)dropping about 0.5% over the following 10 minutes. The index quickly retraced that loss and by mid-morning was back to near the unchanged mark on the day.