President Joe Biden has now tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 on two separate rapid antigen tests and is ending his “strict isolation measures.”
The president tested negative on Tuesday evening, and Wednesday morning the president’s physician, Kevin O’Connor, wrote in his daily update letter about the president’s SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Biden, 79, tested positive for the first time Thursday morning while experiencing mild symptoms of a runny nose, fatigue and a dry cough.
After the diagnosis, he immediately went into isolation and started a five-day course of the antiviral Paxlovid. He completed that course 36 hours ago, O’Connor wrote. The president is fever-free and the rest of his symptoms are improving and are “almost completely gone.”
Biden is now leaving his isolation, but will wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days. The decision to end isolation exceeds standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which do not require negative tests to end isolation. The agency advises that people can end their isolation after five days, without a test, as long as they are fever-free and their symptoms are improving, but they must mask for 10 days after they test positive.
O’Connor ended the letter by pointing out the possibility that Biden could experience a COVID “rebound” after his course of Paxlovid. It’s unclear why, but some people with COVID-19 experience a recurrence of symptoms and test positive again after an initial but short recovery. This phenomenon has been reported particularly in patients taking Paxlovid, but the percentage of people who experience a rebound remains unknown.
“The president will increase his testing cadence, both to protect those around him and to ensure early detection of any return of viral replication,” O’Connor wrote.