After bout with COVID-19, Biden gives credit to treatments
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden ended his COVID-19 isolation on Wednesday, telling Americans they can “live without fear” of the pandemic if they take advantage of booster shots and treatments, the protections he credited with his swift recovery.
“You don’t need to be president to get these tools to be used for your defense,” he said in the Rose Garden. “In fact, the same booster shots, the same at-home test, the same treatment that I got is available to you.”
The pandemic has killed over 1 million people in the U.S. and it continues to disrupt daily life more than two years after it began. But Biden emphasized that people are far less likely to die from the disease despite a wave of new infections caused by a contagious variant known as BA.5, which is believed to have sickened the president as well.
“You can live without fear by doing what I did,” he said. “Get boosted, get tested and get treatment.”
Biden drew a contrast to when President Donald Trump contracted COVID19 and was treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in 2020.
“He was severely ill. Thankfully, he recovered,” Biden said. “When I got COVID, I worked from upstairs in the White House.”
The difference, Biden said, is the availability of vaccines, treatments and home tests for catching infections early.
It was Biden’s first public appearance in person since he tested positive for COVID-19 on July 21. He walked out of the White House on Wednesday wearing aviator glasses and a dark face mask, which his doctor said he’ll continue wearing when in proximity to others for five more days.
White House staff assembled in the Rose Garden applauded Biden, who thanked them for their support.
“Now I get to go back to the Oval Office,” he said.
Biden tested negative Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, allowing him to end his isolation.
The BA.5 variant is an offshoot of the omicron strain that was first detected last year. It’s now responsible for 82% of cases in the country, with BA.4 contributing another 13%.