FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to the media as he arrives at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. July 20, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
By Kanishka Singh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, is improving in health and none of his 17 identified close contacts have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, White House COVID coordinator Ashish Jha said on Sunday.
Jha told ABC News Biden “had a great day yesterday, was feeling well,” and that Biden’s close contacts were continuing to follow the protocols of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Biden, 79, had mild symptoms, according to the White House. His diagnosis came as a highly contagious subvariant of the coronavirus drives a new wave of cases in the United States.
Jha told CBS News on Sunday that Biden likely has that BA5 variant and that he had an upper respiratory infection.
“I checked in with his team late last night. He was feeling well. He had a good day yesterday. He’s got a viral syndrome, an upper respiratory infection, that is, and he’s doing just fine,” Jha told CBS News.
The White House has sought to underscore Biden’s ability to work through his illness. On Thursday it released a video of him reassuring Americans he was doing fine, and on Friday he participated in virtual meetings with White House staff.
The White House has not said where Biden contracted the virus. He recently returned from a trip to the Middle East and held public events before that trip in which he had close personal interactions with scores of people.
Biden’s diagnosis is the latest challenge he has faced amid threats to his policy agenda on Capitol Hill and high inflation putting his fellow Democrats at risk of losing control of Congress in the November midterm elections.