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Biden Tests Negative for Coronavirus but Will Keep Isolating


WASHINGTON — President Biden finally tested negative for the coronavirus on Saturday, per week after his rebound case emerged, however the White House physician said the president would remain in isolation “in an abundance of caution” until a second negative test.

Mr. Biden has been staying away from the Oval Office since he tested positive again on July 30, though he has tried to keep up a public presence through appearances by video from the White House residence. The reoccurrence of the virus has kept him off the road for political events and delayed summer vacation plans as well.

The president has experienced few symptoms during his rebound case, in accordance with Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor, the White House physician, and he appeared in relatively good health in his video events over the previous few days. “The president continues to feel thoroughly,” Dr. O’Connor said in a memo released to reporters on Saturday.

Through the president’s initial bout with Covid-19 and through his rebound case, Dr. O’Connor has never appeared before reporters to reply questions, unlike previous White House doctors under other presidents. The White House has never offered a transparent explanation about why. Dr. O’Connor’s day by day memos have provided no theories about where and the way the president was infected. White House officials have said that those deemed to have been in close contact with Mr. Biden all tested negative.

The president was treated with Paxlovid early in his bout with Covid, and while the drug has been credited with great success in suppressing the virus and stopping severe cases and hospitalizations, a lot of patients who’ve taken it have nonetheless tested positive again a couple of days after the last dose of the five-day regimen.

Initial clinical studies found that only about 1 percent to 2 percent of those treated with Paxlovid, which is made by Pfizer, experienced symptoms again. Subsequent studies of patients have found higher rates, though still in the only digits.

But some doctors and patients have speculated that the rebound rate might be even higher due to anecdotal experiences and due to the characteristics of the highly contagious Omicron subvariants in circulation this summer. Amongst those that have had a rebound case after taking Paxlovid was Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser and a number one figure within the response to the pandemic.

Mr. Biden has been described by aides as desperate to get out of isolation and back on the road because the midterm congressional campaign begins to heat up. Consequently of his infection, he has needed to cancel a lot of planned trips and has limited his contact with aides, advisers and others at a time when he has scored some essential victories that he would really like to advertise.

“I wish I were with you in person, quite frankly,” he told Vice President Kamala Harris and several other cabinet members over a video feed during an event on Wednesday describing his plans to take motion to guard abortion rights. “But I’m getting there.”

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