First Lady Jill Biden, 72, tested positive for COVID-19 Monday but is experiencing only mild symptoms, her spokeswoman said.
President Joe Biden, 80, was tested for the virus following his wife’s positive test, but his results were negative. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president would continue testing regularly and would be monitored for symptoms.
Administration officials told CNN Monday that President Biden would continue with his existing schedule and his existing protocol for COVID-19.
In other words, President Biden is set to give non-answers to reporters shouted questions, take vacations at his house in Delaware, and meet with the Group of 20 leaders in India on Thursday.
The first lady spent much of the weekend with President Biden. They traveled together to Florida on Saturday to inspect the damage from Hurricane Idalia. Then on Monday, the president appeared at a union event in Philadelphia before returning to the White House.
Jill Biden will remain at the couple’s house in Rehoboth Beach for the time being, communications director Elizabeth Alexander said. The first lady teaches English at Northern Virginia Community College, which starts the school year on Tuesday.
Due to her condition, she was working with school officials to arrange substitute teachers for her classes, Alexander said.
The Bidens both contracted COVID previously, last summer. The first lady tested positive while vacationing in South Carolina last year, and she experienced a “rebound case” after taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid to manage her symptoms.
As of July 2023, the president requires other leaders to test for COVID-19 before meeting him.
“We have testing protocols when – anytime somebody meets with the president,” White House press secretary Jean-Pierre said in July. “So, I can tell you that anybody who meets with the president does indeed get tested. I do. We all do.”
In early July, COVID-19 hospital admissions were inching upward in the United States, as part of a small-scale echo of the three previous summers.
With an updated vaccine still months away, this summer bump in new hospitalizations might be concerning, but the number of patients is far lower than before.
For the week ending July 29, COVID-19 hospital admissions were at 9,056. That was an increase of about 12% from the previous week.
But it’s a far cry from past peaks, like the 44,000 weekly hospital admissions in early January, the nearly 45,000 in late July 2022, or the 150,000 admissions during the omicron surge of January 2022.
“It is ticking up a little bit, but it’s not something that we need to raise any alarm bells over,” said Dr. David Dowdy, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Since early June, about 500 to 600 people have died each week. The number of deaths appears to be stable this summer, although past increases in deaths have lagged behind hospitalizations.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article.