WASHINGTON — President Biden finally tested negative for the coronavirus on Saturday, a week after his rebound case emerged, but the White House doctor said the president would remain in isolation “in an abundance of caution” until a second negative test.
Mr. Biden has stayed away from the Oval Office since tested positive again on July 30, though he has tried to maintain a public presence through video appearances from the White House residence. The recurrence of the virus has kept him away from political events and also delayed summer vacation plans.
The president has experienced few symptoms during his rebound case, according to Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor, a White House physician, and appeared in relatively good health on his video events in recent days. “The president continues to feel very good,” said Dr. O’Connor. in a note delivered to journalists on Saturday.
During the president’s initial bout with Covid-19 and during his rebounding case, Dr. O’Connor never appeared before reporters to answer questions, unlike previous White House doctors under other presidents. The White House has never offered a clear explanation as to why. Dr. O’Connor’s daily memos have provided no theories as to where and how the president became infected. White House officials have said those believed to have been in close contact with Biden have tested negative.
The president was treated with Paxlovid early in his fight against covid, and while the drug has been credited with great success in suppressing the virus and preventing severe cases and hospitalizations, several patients who took it tested positive again a few days. after. after the last dose of the five-day regimen.
Initial clinical studies found that only 1 percent to 2 percent of those treated with Paxlovid, made by Pfizer, experienced symptoms again. Later studies of patients have found higher rates, though still in the single digits.
But some doctors and patients have speculated that the rebound rate could be even higher due to anecdotal experience and due to the characteristics of the highly contagious Omicron subvariants circulating this summer. Among those who had a rebound case after taking Paxlovid was Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the president’s top medical adviser and a leading figure in the pandemic response.
Aides have described Biden as eager to break out of isolation and get back on the road as the midterm legislative campaign begins to heat up. As a result of his infection, he has had to cancel a number of planned trips and has limited his contact with aides, advisers and others at a time when he has scored some important victories that he would like to promote.
“I wish I could be with you in person, frankly,” he told Vice President Kamala Harris and several cabinet members. about a video feed during an event Wednesday outlining his plans to take action to protect the right to abortion. “But I’m getting there.”