President Biden tests positive for COVID, here's a look at his overall health

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Friday, July 22, 2022
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President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday morning, his office said.

President Joe Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing "very mild symptoms," the White House announced Thursday.

Below is some information, from the ABC News Medical Unit, about the President's overall health, based on what we know from his latest physical. The White House provided this information.

A reminder that he is twice boosted and will have access to top medical care, and has already begun taking the antiviral Paxlovid.

While it is impossible to calculate any one person's risk of developing severe COVID-19, Biden has significant protection because he is vaccinated and boosted twice. His second booster was on March 3.

He has no known underlying medical conditions that would significantly impact his immune system, although his age (79) puts him in a higher-risk category compared to younger Americans if he became SARS-COV-2 positive.

The president is in relatively good shape for a person who is 79. Biden has completed his vaccine series and been boosted twice. Data from December 2021 shows adults age 65+ with vaccinations and boosters reduce have 14 times less risk of death compared to those unvaccinated.

President Biden reportedly received his first booster shot on Sept. 27, 2021. He had a second booster on camera on March 30. His antibodies likely started to increase since then. On average, protective antibodies are at their highest within weeks of vaccination and efficacy starts to fade off after 4-5 months. But the boosters are still very protective against severe illness over time. Has access to top medical care that will be able to monitor his symptoms if he develops any.

Things that put President Biden at elevated risk for a severe outcome

Information from the White House shows the president has some chronic medical conditions, including atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol, gastric reflux, and peripheral neuropathy or numbness in the feet. For men his age without other serious lungs, kidney, or heart conditions, there is still a moderate (8-11%) risk of mortality from a COVID infection based on pre-omicron data. But a reminder that omicron appears less severe, according to some studies. And a reminder this is an average. His care and recent second booster and the fact that Omicron appears to be less severe likely put his risk much lower.

Treatment options may vary by the severity of possible symptoms and interactions with his daily medication

Because of his age (79), and co-morbidities - Biden is eligible for the antiviral pills Paxlovid (first choice) which have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization.

The NIH COVID-19 Treatment panel recommends for non- hospitalized patients as of 4/8/2022 -

Preferred Therapies Listed in order of preference: Paxlovid (Antiviral pills) or Remdesivir (Antiviral IV medication)

Alternative Therapies For use ONLY when neither of the preferred therapies is available, feasible to use, or clinically appropriate. Listed in alphabetical order: Bebtelovimab (Monoclonal Antibody that works vs Omicron BA.2) or Molnupiravir (Antiviral pills)

A note about Paxlovid - Due to possible drug interactions (conflicts with other medications), he would likely temporarily stop taking his cholesterol medication (rouvastatin) if started on Paxlovid but may continue his blood thinner (abixiban) for atrial fibrillation. But any treatment he goes on and any pause in meds would just be speculation at this point until reported by his doctors. Each patient is treated as an individual. No doubt he is working in close consultation with physicians who are aware of these possible drug interactions.

If hospitalized - these are NIH COVID-19 Treatment panel recommendations. He would likely continue to have daily blood thinners throughout his hospital stay to prevent any blood clots.

If all goes well the current recommended isolation protocols

CDC recommends five days of isolation and then if symptoms have resolved (including no fever without taking fever-reducing medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol)) you can resume work while wearing a mask.

A person with COVID is most contagious during the first few days of illness.

Note: Isolation is if you are sick, Quarantine is if you have been exposed and may be sick.