Baltimore Sun

Biden getting better, but throat still sore from COVID-19, doctor says

- By Chris Megerian

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden continues to “improve significan­tly” despite a lingering sore throat from his coronaviru­s infection, according to an update Sunday from his doctor.

“The president is responding to therapy as expected,” wrote Dr. Kevin O’Connor in his latest note. Biden has been taking Paxlovid, an antiviral drug that helps reduce the chance of severe illness.

O’Connor wrote that Biden still has a sore throat, though other symptoms, including a cough, runny nose and body aches, “have diminished considerab­ly.”

Biden tested positive for the coronaviru­s Thursday morning.

Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinato­r, said Sunday that “it is the BA.5 variant,” a highly contagious variant spreading throughout the country.

“Thank goodness our vaccines and therapeuti­cs work well against it, which is why I think the president’s doing well,” Jha told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Jha also gave a positive update on the president’s health.

“I checked in with his team late last night. He was feeling well,” Jha said.

That variant is an offshoot of the omicron strain that emerged late last year. It is believed responsibl­e for the vast majority of coronaviru­s cases in the country. Biden has been isolating in the White House residence.

Administra­tion officials have emphasized that his symptoms are mild because he has received four vaccine doses, and he started taking Paxlovid after becoming infected.

The White House has not released any photos or video of Biden since Friday, when the media watched him participat­e in a virtual meeting with economic advisers.

Jha pledged that the White House would keep giving updates on Biden’s condition and whether he might have long-term symptoms.

“We think it’s really important for the American people to know how well their president is doing,” he said. “Obviously if he has persistent symptoms, obviously if any of them interfere with his ability to carry out his duties, we will disclose that early and often with the American people.”

Biden’s press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, has said 17 people, including members of the president’s senior staff and one member of Congress, were determined to have been in close contact with Biden when he may have been contagious.

None has tested positive, Jha said on “Fox News Sunday.”

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