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 will remain in isolation “out of an abundance of caution” until a second negative test .
Mr. Biden has stayed away from the Oval Office since he 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 off the road for 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, the White House physician, and appeared in relatively good health in his video events over the past few days. “The president continues to be very well,” said Dr. O’Connor in a note told reporters on Saturday.
During the president’s initial bout with Covid-19 and during his rebound case, Dr O’Connor has never appeared before reporters to answer questions, unlike previous White House doctors under other presidents. The White House has never given a clear explanation as to why. Dr. O’Connor’s daily notes have provided no theories about where or how the president became infected. White House officials have said those believed to have been in close contact with Mr. Biden tested negative.
The president was treated with Paxlovid early in his fight with Covid, and although the drug has been credited with great success in suppressing the virus and preventing severe cases and hospitalizations, a number of patients who have taken have tested positive again a few days. after the last dose of the five-day regimen.
Initial clinical studies found that only 1 to 2 percent of those treated with Paxlovid, which is made by Pfizer, experienced symptoms again. Subsequent studies of patients have found higher rates, although still in the single digits.
But some doctors and patients have speculated that the rebound rate could be even higher because of anecdotal experience and because of the characteristics of the highly contagious Omicron subvariants circulating this summer. Among those who have had a rebound case after taking Paxlovid was Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser and a prominent figure in the response to the pandemic.
Aides have described Mr. Biden as eager to get out of seclusion and back on the road as the midterm congressional campaign begins to heat up. As a result of his infection, he has had to cancel a number of planned trips and has limited contact with aides, advisers and others at a time when he has achieved some important victories that he would like to promote.
“I’d like to be with you in person, frankly,” he told Vice President Kamala Harris and several cabinet members. through a video channel during an event Wednesday outlining his plans to take steps to protect abortion rights. “But I’m getting there.”