Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 for a second time and is returning to isolation, his White House doctor said Saturday, attributing the result to “rebound” positivity from treatment the US president received.
The 79-year-old Biden “tested positive late Saturday morning, by antigen testing,” following four consecutive days of negative tests, and “will reinitiate strict isolation procedures,” presidential physician Kevin O’Connor wrote in a memorandum.
“This in fact represents ‘rebound’ positivity,” O’Connor wrote, referring to a situation in which patients treated with the drug Paxlovid — as Biden was — clear the virus but test positive after completing their course.
“The president has experienced no re-emergence of symptoms and continues to feel quite well. This being the case, there is no reason to reinitiate treatment at this time,” he added.
The second positive test came just three days after O’Connor said Biden had tested negative for the disease and no longer needed to isolate, which he had been doing since receiving a first positive result on July 21.
US President Joe Biden’s Covid symptoms “continue to improve” and he is tolerating treatment well, his White House physician said Saturday, two days after the 79-year-old tested positive for the virus.
Biden, who is isolating at the White House, completed a second full day of Paxlovid on Friday night, his doctor Kevin O’Connor wrote in a memorandum to the White House press secretary.
The US leader continues to experience a sore throat, runny nose, cough, and body aches, but they are “less troublesome,” O’Connor said.
And his pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature “remain entirely normal.” His oxygen saturation “continues to be excellent on room air,” while his lungs are “clear,” according to O’Connor.
He wrote that Biden will continue to take Paxlovid, as well as using Tylenol and an inhaler for his cough “as needed.” The president “is experiencing no shortness of breath at all,” O’Connor added.
He said that primary sequencing results showed Biden most likely had contracted the highly transmissible Omicron BA.5 subvariant, which is currently fueling a new Covid wave in the United States.
While Biden is reported to be in good general health, as the oldest US president ever elected his age heightens concern over the impact of Covid.
The White House has emphasized since Biden’s diagnosis that the president was fully vaccinated and twice boosted.
O’Connor reiterated that the president will keep isolating, in accordance with guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that his team will continue monitoring him “closely.”
President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, his administration announced, saying the 79-year-old leader was experiencing “mild symptoms” and would carry out his full duties while isolating at the White House.
Biden had been due to travel to Pennsylvania during the day, the latest in a series of trips around the country as he seeks to revive waning Democrat fortunes ahead of midterm elections.
“He is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and experiencing very mild symptoms,” the White House said in a statement, adding that Biden had begun taking Pfizer’s anti-Covid pill Paxlovid.
“Consistent with CDC guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time.”
Biden is reported to be in good general health, but his age will heighten concern over the impact of Covid.
Politically he is in a tough phrase of his presidency, facing November midterm elections that are forecast to be painful for his Democratic Party, and declining personal approval ratings.
According to a study conducted by Quinnipiac University in the state of Connecticut and released Wednesday, Biden’s approval ratings have hit a new low, with only 31 percent of Americans satisfied with the way he is running the country.
Biden had planned to spend more time on the ground in the United States in the coming weeks after a period of intense overseas travel, including a NATO summit in Spain and a controversial trip to Saudi Arabia.
Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had tested positive for coronavirus in October, 2020 — in the middle of their bitterly fought election race.
The news that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, had both contracted the virus was a shocking development at a time when the pandemic was still unfolding across the globe.
Trump, who was 74 at the time, was transferred to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he spent the weekend and received various treatments. He returned to the White House three days later.
The White House said Biden had last tested negative on Tuesday.
“Out of an abundance of transparency, the White House will provide a daily update on the president’s status as he continues to carry out the full duties of the office while in isolation,” it said.
“Per standard protocol for any positive case at the White House, the White House Medical Unit will inform all close contacts of the president during the day today, including any members of Congress and any members of the press who interacted with the president during yesterday’s travel.”
US President Joe Biden will announce Wednesday a series of executive measures to combat climate change, in an effort to push forward an environmental agenda stalled by an unsupportive Congress and a conservative Supreme Court.
Biden — who will deliver his address from a former coal power plant in Massachusetts — will make clear that time is running out to tackle global warming, highlighted by a devastating heatwave in Europe that has sparked fires, melted runways and spelled misery for millions.
But he will stop short of declaring a formal emergency, which would grant him additional policy powers.
“The president… is going to make it clear that just because Congress couldn’t get it done, he is going to move forward with every power available to him to make the change and the shift to clean energy,” White House climate advisor Gina McCarthy told CNN.
“The president will make very clear again that this is an emergency and we are going to act. But the president is going to outline that at his pace.”
For now, he is expected to use executive orders to provide additional funding for communities dealing with extreme heat and actions to boost US production of wind power.
The efforts are part of the administration’s goals to move “the US power sector away from the pollution, environmental injustice, and volatile price swings of the past,” a White House official said, and “toward the good-paying jobs, lower costs, and energy security of the future.”
-Repeated setbacks –
Biden began his term last year promising to fulfill campaign pledges to tackle the global climate crisis, but his agenda has faced blow after blow.
His first day in office, Biden signed an executive order to bring the United States back into the Paris Climate Agreement, followed later by an ambitious announcement that he was targeting a 50-52 percent reduction from 2005 levels in US net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030.
But his signature Build Back Better legislation, which would have included $550 billion for clean energy and other climate initiatives, is all but dead after failing to receive the necessary backing in Congress as Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he would not support the bill.
And last month, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot issue broad greenhouse gas regulations without congressional approval.
McCarthy insisted however that “regulatory action is still strong,” saying: “We are going to move, not just with the EPA, but with others.”
The Biden administration has framed climate policies as a national security issue, made all the more urgent by soaring fuel prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Not only does it affect our infrastructure… It has an impact on our readiness,” White House spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday.
State Department spokesman Ned Price pointed to the extreme heat wave tormenting Europe this week — with Britain recording a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) — as more proof that climate action cannot wait.
“We are committed to taking advantage of this moment and doing everything we can, including on the world stage,” Price told reporters, “to ensure that this decisive decade does not go by without us taking appropriate action.”
Gymnastics star Simone Biles, actor Denzel Washington and the late tech visionary Steve Jobs have been named as recipients of America’s highest civilian honor, the White House said Friday.
President Joe Biden designated 17 Americans to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, three of them posthumous.
The White House said the medal recognizes “exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.”
Among the recipients is Megan Rapinoe, the Olympic gold medalist soccer star, two-time Women’s World Cup champion and outspoken advocate on equality, race and LGBTQ issues.
Ahead of a ceremony on July 7, the White House said those honored had “overcome significant obstacles… and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities — and across the world — while blazing trails for generations to come.”
One posthumous recipient this year is John McCain, a one-time Republican presidential nominee, long-time senator from Arizona, and Vietnam War veteran who won a Purple Heart.
Previous winners of the presidential medal include the basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Motown singer Diana Ross and the actor Robert De Niro.
US President Joe Biden took a tumble as he was riding his bicycle near his beach home in the state of Delaware Saturday morning, but was unhurt.
A video from a White House pool report showed the 79-year-old president immediately getting up after his fall. He then says: “I’m good.”
He was biking with First Lady Jill Biden in a state park near their beach home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and had stopped to talk to onlookers when he fell.
The president told a small crowd of well-wishers and reporters that he had lost his balance as he tried to pull a foot out of a bike clip.
The result: “a mad scramble of Secret Service and press,” a White House pool report said, adding there were no visible scrapes or bruises from the fall.
“No medical attention is needed,” a White House official said. “The President looks forward to spending the rest of the day with his family.”
As the oldest US president, Biden’s health is the subject of constant attention, particularly as speculation rises on whether he will seek a second term in 2024.
In November 2020, shortly after his election but before taking office, Biden broke a foot while playing with his pet German shepherds.
But a year later, in November 2021, his doctor gave Biden a clean bill of health, describing him as “healthy” and “vigorous.”
Taking a few questions from reporters on Saturday, Biden said he was “in the process of making up my mind” about easing some Trump-era tariffs on Chinese goods in order to soften inflationary pressures.
He said he would be speaking to Chinese President Xi Jinping soon.
And asked if he was satisfied with progress on gun legislation — after mass shootings in Texas and New York brought new demands for action — Biden said only that he was happy with action by his home state of Delaware, which passed a ban on assault-style weapons.
Russia on Saturday published a list of 963 leading Americans, including US President Joe Biden, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman banned from entering the country in retaliation for similar moves by Washington since the offensive in Ukraine.
Those named in the list on the Russian foreign ministry’s website also include US government officials, lawmakers and other leading figures.
Moscow had already announced sanctions targeting many of those on the list, in particular Biden, his Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the head of the Pentagon Lloyd Austin and Zuckerberg.
Freeman, who had not previously been named by Russian authorities, is accused by Moscow of having recorded a video in 2017 in which he claimed Russia was plotting against the US.
“The Russian counter-sanctions are necessary and aim to constrain the US which is trying to impose a neocolonial ‘world order’ on the rest of the planet… to change its position and recognise new geopolitical realities,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
It added that Moscow remained open to “honest dialogue” and drew a distinction between the people of the US and the authorities “inciting Russophobia”.
Since the offensive in Ukraine, Moscow has banned hundreds of “Anglo-Saxons” from Russia.
On Saturday, it said it had also banned 26 more Canadians, including Sophie Trudeau, the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister
The White House vowed Thursday to take action to boost supplies of baby formula as President Joe Biden was slammed by Republicans for crippling shortages nationwide.
Last week, the average out-of-stock rate for baby formula was 43 percent, according to Datasembly, which collected information from more than 11,000 retailers.
The administration, already under fire over the highest inflation rate in decades, said it was considering increasing imports, as the United States relies on domestic producers for 98 percent of the infant formula it consumes.
Officials say they are also working with the states to cut red tape on poor families buying infant milk through food stamps.
“President Biden has directed the administration to work urgently to ensure that infant formula is safe and available for families across the country… this is work that’s been underway for months,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Thursday.
“Our message to parents is: We hear you, we want to do everything we can, and we’re going to cut every element of red tape to help address this and make it better for you to get formula on the shelves,” she added.
Biden has asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into abuses linked to the shortage, including the resale of infant milk online at prices far above normal.
The president met manufacturers and retailers for discussions described as “productive and encouraging” by an administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
However, the official would not say how long it would take for the situation to improve.
The Republican opposition, which has set its sights on wresting back control of Congress in November’s midterm elections, has seized on the issue to berate Biden and the Democrats.
Elise Stefanik, part of the House Republican leadership and a new mother herself, told a news conference she had contacted the US Food and Drug Administration in February but received “no substantive response.”
“Joe Biden simply has no plan. In fact, when Joe Biden’s White House was asked about the shortage, they laughed. Shameful,” she told reporters.
Her Republican House colleague Anne Wagner of Missouri said her state was one of six where more than half of the normal supply of baby milk was out of stock.
“I’ve heard stories of moms first-hand — my own daughter-in-law — bartering for baby formula on Facebook,” she said.
“Pregnant women are asking if they should start stockpiling. They’re anxious during a time of high stress and anxiety.”
Congressman Randy Feenstra said families in his state of Iowa were traveling up to 100 miles to source the formula.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby’s life, and continuing to offer a mix of breast milk and solid food until their first birthday.
But the ability to breastfeed can depend on factors such as the mother’s work environment and medical condition. Infant formula is considered a healthy alternative and in practice three quarters of babies are fed with at least some formula by six months.
For some families, formula is the only option. San Diego, California resident Olivia Espinosa Espinosa and her husband Steve Hohman have two young children. One of them, Maya, is only three weeks old and is lactose intolerant.
Espinosa said the shortages have been “extremely frustrating and especially with a newborn, somebody who is requiring… very specific food right now.”
The problem has been worsening since February 17 when, after the death of two infants, manufacturer Abbott announced a “voluntary recall” for formula made at its factory in Michigan — including Similac, a brand used by millions of American families.
A subsequent investigation cleared the formula, but production has yet to resume, exacerbating already ongoing scarcity caused by supply chain problems and labor shortages.
“I think we need to take a moment and think about the fact that, in Joe Biden’s America, it seems like it’s easier to get a crack pipe and a government-funded smoking kit than it is to find baby formula,” said congressman Mike Waltz of Florida, a father of a four-month-old.
The false claim that a US government grant program would fund the distribution of crack pipes in smoking kits stems from an inaccurate article published in February. Despite being repeatedly debunked, it continues to be spread by Biden opponents.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa held telephone talks Friday with US President Joe Biden, a day after the continental powerhouse abstained from voting on a resolution suspending Russia from a UN rights body over its aggression in Ukraine.
Ramaphosa, whose government has been criticised for refusing to condemn Moscow’s bloody invasion, had a day earlier blasted the UN Security Council as “outdated” and in dire need of an overhaul.
Hours later, South Africa was among the 58 countries that abstained from voting on the UN General Assembly resolution that suspended Russia from the UN Human Rights Council as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine.
It was the third time South Africa abstained from voting on resolutions adopted over the war.
Ramaphosa tweeted Friday that he had “a productive” telephone call with Biden.
“We shared views on the conflict in Ukraine and agreed on the need for a ceasefire and dialogue between Ukraine and Russia,” Ramaphosa wrote.
The White House said in a readout of the call that Biden “emphasized the strength of the bilateral partnership, as well as global challenges brought on by Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine”.
The American leader stressed “the need for a clear, unified international response to Russian aggression in Ukraine”, the statement said.
Local media suggested it was Biden who initiated the call to Ramaphosa.
The high-profile rebuke of Russia at the UN marked only the second ever suspension of a country from the global body’s human rights council — Libya was the first, in 2011.
On Thursday, Ramaphosa sharply criticised the UN Security Council for enabling powerful nations to use their clout to make decisions that were at times catastrophic.
“The current formation of the UN Security Council is outdated and unrepresentative,” he said. “It disadvantages countries with developing economies.”
South Africa has maintained a non-aligned stance on the conflict in Ukraine, touting negotiation as the best option to end the conflict despite international outrage and condemnation.
The Thursday confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Supreme Court marks an undeniable success for Joe Biden, with the American president in dire need of fresh political uplift months before midterm elections.
The 79-year-old Democrat has made clear he intends to thoroughly capitalize on the historic appointment, which fulfills a top campaign promise: placing a Black woman for the first time onto the nation’s highest court, a nine-justice bench where America’s most pressing social debates are decided.
Biden hosted the highly respected judge at the White House on February 25 when he unveiled her as his nominee. Then he made it publicly known he called her up to offer encouragement ahead of marathon US Senate confirmation hearings before the judiciary committee that he himself once chaired as a senator.
On Thursday the White House ushered photographers into a room in the presidential mansion where they found Biden and Jackson watching the Senate confirmation vote live on television.
If that wasn’t enough, Biden posted a selfie of the occasion on the presidential Twitter account.
– Reception – Finally, on Friday Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will fete Jackson at an event on the White House lawn.
With the rapid approach of the midterm elections, traditionally difficult for the incumbent president’s political party, Biden is desperate to build some political momentum.
His administration may be highlighting the US economy’s rapid rebound and a booming job market following coronavirus pandemic doldrums, but none of that is working.
American households see only their hard-earned dollars being swallowed up at the gas pump and the supermarket checkout counter due to galloping inflation.
The president’s job approval rating is hovering around 41 or 42 percent — dismal, with little signs of improvement.
If there was a slight uptick after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, which saw Biden take the reins of the Western response, it hardly lasted, with the nation’s partisan divides pushed to breaking point by previous president Donald Trump.
Such division played out during the Jackson hearings, even as the nominee herself has proven popular with the public.
“The Republicans want to win back the majority (in Congress), and so they were asking a lot, I think, of irrelevant questions,” said University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias.
He also noted that while three Republicans broke ranks and voted to confirm Jackson, it was nothing like the bipartisan mood that surrounded Stephen Breyer, the justice whom Jackson is replacing.
He was confirmed 87-9 by the Senate in 1994; Biden’s nominee earned a 53-47 vote.
– Rejuvenation – If he cannot jolt large swaths of voters to his side, Biden can at least hope the Jackson confirmation lights a fire under a crucial slice of the electorate: African Americans.
He owed them for the 2020 election, not just for getting him into the White House, but for securing a razor-thin Senate majority, after intense fieldwork by Black community leaders in Georgia helped wrest two seats away from Republicans.
But after the euphoria of those victories ebbed, many activists criticized Biden for abandoning some promises he made to minority voters, notably on addressing police brutality and defending voting rights.
Jackson’s appointment to the court could at least temporarily assuage the sting of previous disappointments. She has been praised by luminaries including former first lady Michelle Obama, as well as Martin Luther King III — son of the slain civil rights icon — and Stacey Abrams, the charismatic Black candidate for governor in Georgia.
In the end though, what really could spoil Friday’s party at the White House is Covid-19; infections have exploded in recent days in Washington and its small world of politics and media.
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden’s granddaughter Naomi Biden said Monday she will celebrate her wedding reception at the White House later this year.
Naomi Biden will wed Peter Neal, who is studying for his law degree at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Peter and I are endlessly grateful to my Nana and Pop for the opportunity to celebrate our wedding at the White House. We can’t wait to make our commitment to one another official and for what lies ahead,” she tweeted.
Jill Biden’s spokeswoman said the nuptials will be on November 19.
“The president and first lady will host the wedding reception for their granddaughter Naomi Biden and her fiancee Peter Neal at the White House,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander tweeted.
“The first family, the couple, and their parents are still in the planning stages of all of the wedding festivities and look forward to announcing further details in the coming months.”
According to CNN, Neal, 24, proposed to attorney Biden, 28, near his childhood home in the fancy ski resort of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.