Biden's COVID-19 symptoms have 'diminished considerably,' his doctor says

"His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature all remain normal."

July 24, 2022, 11:59 AM

President Joe Biden's doctor said Sunday that he "continue to improve significantly" after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

Kevin O'Connor, Biden's physician, wrote in a letter released by the White House that Biden's primary symptom was a sore throat and that his runny nose, cough and body aches had all "diminished considerably."

Biden completed his third day of Paxlovid, a COVID treatment, on Saturday night.

"His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature all remain normal. His oxygen saturation continues to be excellent on room air. His lungs remain clear," O'Connor added in the memo to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Biden tested positive for the coronavirus three days ago. O'Connor wrote Saturday in a memo that he likely had the BA.5 subvariant, which now accounts for the majority of COVID-19 cases in the country and is more resistant to vaccines than prior strains.

The president appeared to contract a relatively minor case of the virus, according to the White House, with his symptoms consistently including a runny nose and a cough. He started experiencing a sore throat and body aches on Saturday.

O'Connor has never said Biden's pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate or oxygen were outside normal ranges throughout his infection.

President Joe Biden talks on the phone with his national security team from the Treaty Room in the residence of the White House in Washington, Friday, July 22, 2022.
Adam Schultz/The White House via AP

In addition to Paxlovid, Biden has been using an albuterol inhaler for a cough, according to O'Connor. He is fully vaccinated and double-boosted.

Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House's coronavirus coordinator, also expressed optimism on Sunday about the president's infection, saying, "He had a great day yesterday, was feeling well."

"This is a president who's double-vaccinated, double-boosted, getting treatments that are widely available to Americans and has at this moment a mild respiratory illness," Jha said on ABC's "This Week." "This is really good news, and this is both vaccines and treatments that are available to everyone. Really important that people go out and get vaccinated and avail themselves of these treatments if they get infected."

Biden began presenting symptoms Wednesday evening and ultimately tested positive Thursday, according to his aides.

White House spokesman John Kirby said Friday that Biden's positive test had "no impact" on "the national security decision-making process."

Seventeen people have been identified as close contacts of Biden's, though none of them tested positive for COVID-19. Among them are first lady Jill Biden, who is staying in Delaware until at least Tuesday, and Vice President Kamala Harris, who is maintaining her normal public schedule.

The president is working from the White House residence and will continue to do so until he tests negative.