By Jennifer Shutt and Ariana Figueroa, Tennessee Lookout
WASHINGTON–President Joe Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms, the White House announced Thursday morning.
Biden, 79, is fully vaccinated against the virus and has twice received booster doses, according to the statement. He is taking Paxlovid, an antiviral prescription medication that is meant to reduce the severity of symptoms and the duration of illness.
“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,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in the statement.
“He has been in contact with members of the White House staff by phone this morning, and will participate in his planned meetings at the White House this morning via phone and Zoom from the residence,” she continued.
The White House plans to provide daily updates on Biden’s condition. He will return to work in person when he tests negative.
He tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday, the White House said.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who was last with Biden Tuesday, has tested negative, according to a White House official. The White House did not specify when that test was conducted.
Harris is meeting with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, Thursday, and will later meet with North Carolina state legislators to hold a roundtable discussion about reproductive rights, according to the White House.
Harris spoke with Biden by phone Thursday morning and plans to continue her schedule as planned, according to the official.
“The vice president will remain masked following the advice of the White House medical team,” the official said.
Biden was in Massachusetts on Wednesday to announce action on climate change. Several of Biden’s top staffers traveled with him on Marine One, the helicopter that transports the president and aides from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where Air Force One takes off and lands.
Those aides included Bruce Reed, deputy chief of staff; Gina McCarthy, national climate adviser; Annie Tomasini, director of Oval Office operations; Jean-Pierre; and Stephen Goepfert, special assistant and personal aide to the president.
U.S. Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren as well as U.S. Reps. Jake Auchincloss and Bill Keating, all of Massachusetts, traveled with Biden from Andrews to the outdoor event in Somerset.
White House staff traveling on Air Force One included Vinay Reddy, director of speech writing; Curtis Reid, senior director for multilateral affairs; and Travis Dredd, trip director.
Biden is also coming off an international trip from last week, along with his first one to the Middle East, where from June 9-16 he traveled to the United Kingdom, Brussels, Geneva, Israel, the West Bank and then Saudi Arabia.
During that trip, he met with former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, while he attended the G7 summit. He had another meeting with the president of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Biden also met with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who ordered the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
He was scheduled to travel to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on Thursday to give a speech at the Marts Center at Wilkes University about the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which is the president’s funding request to Congress to help fund programs aimed at reducing gun violence.
Later on, the president was scheduled to travel to Philadelphia to “participate in a fundraising reception for the Democratic National Committee,” according to the White House’s schedule.
After his visit, he was scheduled to go back to his home in Wilmington, Delaware, for the weekend.
It’s unclear if the president will still be able to attend an event scheduled in Orlando and Tampa, Florida, on Monday. Biden was scheduled to give a speech at the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives Annual Conference in Orlando and another speech at a DNC rally in Tampa.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that someone who tests positive for COVID-19 should stay home for at least five days and isolate from others. The CDC advises against all travel.