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Biden tests negative for Covid, ends strict quarantine

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U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks to staff within the Rose Garden as he returns from COVID-19 isolation to work within the Oval Office on the White House in Washington, U.S. July 27, 2022. 

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Joe Biden returned to the Oval Office on Wednesday after five days of strict Covid-19 quarantine, saying he had two negative coronavirus tests over the previous 24 hours.

“My symptoms were mild, my recovery was quick and I’m feeling great,” Biden said in a brief speech on the White House before he went back to work within the West Wing. He had been working from the White House residence after contracting Covid last week

White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor wrote in a letter Wednesday that Biden’s symptoms “have been steadily improving, and are almost completely resolved.”

Despite ending his formal isolation period, Biden “continues to be very specifically conscientious to guard any” White House staff, Secret Service agents and others whose duties require proximity to him, O’Connor wrote.

Speaking within the Rose Garden, Biden, 79, emphasized the importance of recent Covid treatments with greatly improving the prognosis of those that do contract the virus.

“What’s different now’s our ability to guard ourselves from serious illness resulting from Covid. In truth, that is radically different today than it was only a 12 months ago,” Biden said.

“Covid is not gone. But even with cases climbing on this country, Covid deaths are down nearly 90% from once I took office” in January 2021.

O’Connor in his letter Wednesday wrote that Biden had accomplished a five-day course of the antiviral medication Paxlovid, one in every of several novel treatment options which have contributed to the large drop in Covid mortality rates.

“This life saving drug reduces the chance of hospitalization and death from Covid-19 by about 90%,” Biden said of Paxlovid. He added that in lots of places the drug is “free, protected and simple to take. And we’re moving quickly to make it widely available.”

In his letter Wednesday, nonetheless, O’Connor also wrote that given the potential for a rebound in Covid positive results seen “in a small percentage of patients treated with Paxlovid, the President will increase his testing cadence.”

The president Wednesday morning tweeted a photograph showing his negative test, with the message: “Back to the Oval. Due to Doc for the great care, and to all of you in your support.”

Biden was diagnosed with Covid on Thursday.

The White House that day said the president was experiencing “very mild symptoms.” Biden is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine.

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