Biden tests positive for COVID again, says he’s feeling fine

WASHINGTON, July 30 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 again on Saturday in what the White House doctor described as a “rebound” case seen in a small percentage of patients who are taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid.

Biden, 79, who came out of COVID isolation on Wednesday after testing positive on July 21, said he was feeling fine.

He will now return to strict isolation and cancel planned trips to his home in Wilmington and a work trip to Michigan, the White House has said. Biden held public events on Wednesday and Thursday, but no Friday.

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The enforced isolation comes as the White House hoped to celebrate some recent legislative victories to help boost Biden’s dwindling ratings.

Biden had planned the trip to Michigan to tout Thursday’s passage of legislation aimed at boosting the U.S. semiconductor chip industry.

Biden’s positive test is thought to be a “rebound” experienced by some COVID patients who take the antiviral drug Paxlovid, according to White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor. Paxlovid is an antiviral drug from Pfizer Inc. (PFE.N) which is used to treat high-risk patients, such as elderly patients.

Studies have shown that a small but significant percentage of people who take Paxlovid will experience a relapse or rebound that occurs a few days after completing the five-day course.

White House officials had previously suggested a rebound case of COVID was unlikely, based on case reports across the country. However, Biden continued to be tested and monitored.

Biden tweeted about his positive case, saying it could happen to a “small minority of people.” He then posted a video on Twitter where he said he was “feeling good” and “everything was fine”.

A White House official said contact tracing efforts were underway Saturday after Biden tested positive for COVID-19.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, also experienced a rebound from COVID-19. Her symptoms worsened when they returned after treatment, and her doctors prescribed another course of Paxlovid.

O’Connor said Biden had tested negative in the past four days and was not expected to resume treatment given his lack of symptoms.

Biden has previously described his experience with COVID as mild, saying he was able to continue working while in isolation and attributing his relative ease with the disease to vaccines and other treatments.

O’Connor previously said Biden would be tested regularly to monitor a possible “rebound” case of COVID-19, which may be experienced by some patients who have been treated with Paxlovid, the drug the president received.

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Reporting by Pete Schroeder, David Shepardson and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Aurora Ellis, Alistair Bell and Diane Craft

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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