Less than a week after he tested positive, President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he has recovered from COVID-19 and that he’s eager to get back to work in the Oval Office.
Biden detailed his recovery in a speech in the White House Rose Garden. Earlier Wednesday, his doctor announced that the president had completed his antiviral treatment and was no longer in isolation.
Physician to the President Dr. Kevin O’Connor said that Biden’s symptoms are “almost completely resolved” and that he no longer has a fever. He added that the president tested negative for COVID-19 Tuesday night and again Wednesday morning.
“When I was walking out, I thought I heard a rumbling in my staff saying, ‘oh he’s back,’” Biden quipped at the start of his speech in the Rose Garden.
“Thankfully, I’ll now be able to return to work in person,” he added. “My symptoms were mild, my recovery was quick and I’m feeling great.”
“It’s a real statement of where we are in the fight against COVID-19,” Biden said, encouraging people to get vaccinated and boosted to slow the spread of the new BA.5 Omicron variant.
“Here is the bottom line: When my predecessor got COVID, he had to get helicoptered to Walter Reed Medical Center. He was severely ill. Thankfully, he recovered. When I got COVID, I worked upstairs in the White House. The difference is vaccination, of course.”
Biden added that there are also treatments available now that weren’t when President Donald Trump became ill, and said that his administration is presently working on the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines.
“God bless you all, and now I get to go back to the Oval Office,” Biden said in closing his speech.
Since Biden’s diagnosis last Thursday, O’Connor has given an update on the president’s condition each day in a letter.
“The president continues to be very specifically conscientious to protect any of the executive residence, White House, Secret Service and other staff whose duties require any (albeit socially distanced) proximity to him,” O’Connor wrote in his letter Wednesday.
O’Connor added that Biden will continue to wear a mask for 10 full days when he’s around others. After his diagnosis, Biden took the antiviral treatment Paxlovid for five straight days.
Biden, 79, is fully vaccinated and double boosted. O’Connor said that he’d been infected with the BA.5 Omicron subvariant, which is more transmissible than other variants.