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Biden tests negative for COVID, completes 5-day isolation

By Tim Balk New York Daily News

President Joe Biden completed his coronavirus isolation on Wednesday, six days after testing positive, declaring that his symptom-light, work-heavy virus experience represented a “real statement of where we are in the fight against COVID-19.”

Biden, 79, tested negative on Tuesday night and again on Wednesday morning, according to a memo from the president’s White House physician, Kevin O’Connor.

O’Connor said in his note that Biden was fever-free, had not taken Tylenol over the previous 36 hours and was experiencing minimal symptoms that have “almost completely resolved.”

Biden met cheers as he delivered remarks in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday morning.

“Thankfully, I will now be able to return to work in person,” said the president, wearing aviator sunglasses and no mask on a sunny day in Washington. “My symptoms were mild. My recovery was quick. And I’m feeling great.”

The president, who is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots, was treated with Paxlovid, an antiviral therapy.

He said he had been infected by the blazingly infectious and now-dominant BA.5 COVID-19 variant.

Biden urged Americans to consider masking in crowded indoor spaces. And he touted the power of vaccine booster shots, which many Americans have spurned despite their lifesaving capabilities.

“If you have your boosters – one if you’re under 50, two if you’re over 50 – your odds of getting severely ill from COVID are very, very low,” the president said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that Americans ages 5 and over get boosted. But only about half of American adults have received at least one booster, according to CDC data.

“I want to remind everybody: They are free, they are convenient and they are safe,” Biden said. “And they work.”

The president will increase his testing frequency to protect others and to monitor any post-isolation virus flare-up, O’Connor said.

Biden’s infection with COVID-19 proved far smoother than former President Donald Trump’s in 2020. Trump, then 74, was infected prior to the nation’s vaccine rollout and was hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

After testing positive last Thursday, Biden tweeted, “Folks, I’m doing great,” with a picture of him working and smiling at his desk. “Keeping busy!”

He continued to work remotely, and ripped his predecessor over Jan. 6 in video remarks Monday to the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, saying that Trump “lacked the courage to act” during the siege.

Also Monday, Biden posted an image showing him working outside next to his grinning German Shepherd dog, a corded phone by the president’s ear. “Took some calls this morning with man’s best co-worker,” he tweeted.

And on Wednesday, Biden posted a picture of a COVID-19 test with a single pink line – signaling an infection-free status.

“Back to the Oval,” Biden tweeted. “Thanks to Doc for the good care, and to all of you for your support.”

In his remarks at the Rose Garden, Biden underscored his administration’s work to reduce the COVID-19 threat with vaccines and treatments. And he drew a contrast between his COVID-19 experience and Trump’s.

“When my predecessor got COVID-19, he had to get helicoptered to Walter Reed Medical Center, he was severely ill – thankfully he recovered,” Biden said.

“When I got COVID, I worked from upstairs of the White House, in the office upstairs, for a five-day period,” Biden added. “The difference is vaccinations.”