President Joe Biden ended his most recent COVID-19 isolation, leaving the White House for the first time on Sunday since becoming infected with the coronavirus last month and heading for a reunion with First Lady Jill Biden in their home state of Delaware.
The president had tested negative on Saturday, paving the way for coming out of an isolation that has lasted longer than expected due to a rebound case of the virus. The White House physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, had said in his latest update that, “in an abundance of caution”, Biden would continue his “strict isolation measures” pending a second negative test. The White House did not say Sunday whether the president had a second negative test and had not provided a new report from O’Connor since Saturday afternoon.
“I feel great,” Biden said before boarding the Marine One outside the White House.
The Bidens are expected to spend the day at Rehoboth Beach, a popular vacation spot.
Biden originally tested positive on July 21 and started taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid, which is intended to reduce the risk of serious illness from the virus. According to his doctor, Biden’s vital signs remained normal during his infection, but his symptoms included a runny nose, cough, sore throat and body aches.
After several days in isolation, Biden tested negative on July 26 and 27 when he gave a speech at the Rose Garden and told Americans they can live “without fear” of the virus if they get booster shots, test themselves for the virus when they get sick and seek treatments.
But Biden caught a rare rebound case of COVID-19 on July 30, forcing him to re-isolate. He occasionally made speeches from a White House balcony, such as when he flagged the assassination of an Al Qaeda leader or a strong jobs report.
He continued to test positive until Saturday, when he got his first negative result. While the president secluded herself at the White House residence, the first lady remained in Delaware.
The Bidens are expected to visit Kentucky on Monday to review flood damage and meet with families.