Biden ends isolation in White House after negative Covid tests

President Joe Biden traveled to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on Sunday after he ended isolation from the White House following two negative tests for Covid.

“This morning, the president’s SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing was negative for a second consecutive day,” Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the White House physician, wrote in a letter Sunday. “He will safely return to public engagement and presidential travel.”

Biden told reporters he was feeling great as he walked out of the White House to board Marine One for his home state, where first lady Jill Biden has been staying during the president’s Covid infection.

Biden, 79, who is fully vaccinated and twice boosted, first tested positive for Covid on July 21 during a routine test and was treated with the antiviral Paxlovid. After several days of treatment and isolation, he tested negative. At the time, O’Connor said his symptoms had almost completely resolved themselves.

But the president tested positive again on July 30 in what O’Connor called a “rebound” case. Biden immediately returned to strict isolation measures, but he did not restart treatment. Finally, he tested negative Saturday but remained in isolation until he received his second negative test on Sunday.

A small number of people who take Paxlovid to treat Covid experience a rebound case. Around 1% to 2% of those taking Paxlovid in Pfizer’s clinical trial tested positive for the coronavirus after having tested negative. Rebound rates are around 5% among the tens of thousands of people who’ve taken the drug in real-life settings, Dr. Ashish Jha, White House Covid response coordinator, has said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to Biden, who had Covid in June, also said he went through a Paxlovid rebound.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of the possible recurrence in May, and said that people who test positive again may still be contagious and should restart isolation for at least five days.

The president and first lady will travel to eastern Kentucky Monday, where they will join Gov. Andy Beshear in visiting families affected by the devastation from recent flooding, the White House said Friday.

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