President Joe Biden said he was feeling great and had gotten through COVID with only mild discomfort, he said Wednesday morning, but he suggested Americans should wear masks indoors as the nation grapples with the latest version of the infection.
And he paid tribute to the vaccinators, who he allowed to sit in the White House opposite President Donald Trump who had to be taken to the hospital.
“Here’s the bottom line: When my predecessor got COVID he had to be taken by helicopter to Walter Reed Medical Center,” Biden, 79, said.
‘He was seriously ill. Thankfully he recovered.
‘I got COVID, I worked from the top floor of the White House…. for a period of five days. The difference is the vaccine.’
Biden was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of staffers, who wept and cheered at the president’s arrival — even as the White House tried to ease his symptoms.
The occasion is not just a personal victory lap, but an opportunity for the administration to highlight progress in vaccines and treatments.
‘Going out “I thought I heard a commotion … my staff saying, ‘Oh, he’s back,'” Biden said as he began his remarks.
‘Thanks for sticking around.’
President Joe Biden made a symbolic return to work Wednesday morning, taking off his mask in the Rose Garden to deliver remarks and return to the Oval Office. He compared his experience to Donald Trump who was terminally ill
Biden emerged from the side of the White House residence wearing a mask and entered the Rose Garden, where he paid tribute to the vaccinations and treatment that ensured he only had a mild case of COVID-19.
White House staff cheered as Biden emerged from isolation
Biden tested positive last week.
His doctor, Kevin O’Connor, said on Wednesday that he tested negative again on Tuesday evening and the morning of the sixth day.
The president used the occasion to urge Americans to get vaccines and boosters, and warned that the epidemic is not over.
The White House said Biden was infected with the BA.5 variant, which is responsible for a new surge in cases worldwide, and the president urged extra caution.
“We’ve made the tests widely available, so you can take one before attending large indoor gatherings or meeting high-risk people,” Biden said.
‘We have made high quality masks available for free so you should consider wearing a mask when you are in a crowded indoor public place.’
And he warned Americans that ‘COVID is not gone.’
‘God bless you all, and now I get to go back to the Oval Office,’ he finished his remarks in the Rose Garden and began walking to the West Wing.
Earlier, Biden’s doctor, Kevin O’Connor, said the president had tested negative twice – once on Tuesday evening and again on Wednesday morning. Wednesday is the sixth day since Biden’s diagnosis.
‘Yesterday evening, then again this morning, he tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus by antigen testing,’ O’Connor said in a statement.
‘Given these reassuring factors, the President will wind down his strict isolation measures.’
The president’s symptoms have “almost completely resolved,” O’Connor said. Biden is also fever-free. He was suffering from cough, runny nose and body ache.
The White House faced criticism for not allowing O’Connor to speak directly to reporters.
Reports suggested that officials wanted to play down stories about his health and symptoms, and feared that O’Connor’s open-minded manner might distract him from the subject.
President Joe Biden with his dog Commander after hearing the German Shepherd barking during his Tuesday Zoom meeting
President Biden has tested negative for Covid and will return to work
President Joe Biden is showing signs of breaking out of his isolation – the White House pictured him waving to South Korean executives after a Zoom meeting on Thursday
Biden expressed his enthusiasm for the release Wednesday morning.
He tweeted a photo of his negative test, writing: ‘Back to the Oval. Thanks Doc for the good care, and everyone for your support.’
The White House said Biden will follow CDC protocols when he returns to work wearing a face mask.
‘He will wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days when he is around others,’ O’Connor said. Biden first tested positive on Thursday.
Biden’s doctor also said the president would ‘increase his testing cadence’ as part of his monitoring for lingering COVID symptoms. He did not specify how often the president would be tested.
He is the second president to test positive for the highly contagious disease. Then-President Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 in October 2020, before vaccines were available. Later it was revealed that he was seriously ill. He went to Walter Reed Hospital for treatment.
Biden was vaccinated and boosted when he finally caught Covid, avoiding it during the two-year pandemic.
On Tuesday, Biden lamented being stuck at the residence and having to beam into a virtual meeting instead of being there in person.
Biden said during a Zoom meeting with the chairman of the Republic of Korea (ROK) group SK Group, ‘I feel very bad that I am so close but because I am in the last days of being diagnosed with Covid.
‘I’m feeling good. I hope it comes out well. I hope I look as great as I feel,’ he said.
Executives, including some of the president’s senior staff, were in the Roosevelt Room of the White House while Biden beamed at a large TV screen at the head of the table.
Biden apologized several times for not being there in person. The White House later posted a photo on its social media accounts of Biden shaking hands with officials below him in the Rose Garden from the Truman Balcony.
President Joe Biden indicated on Tuesday that he is growing restless in his Covid isolation, lamenting being stuck at home.
And, at one point, the president’s dog Commander Zoom could be heard barking in the background of the session. Biden smiled as his German Shepherd made his presence known off-screen.
The White House later posted a photo of the commander next to Biden, with the president patting him on the head after the meeting ended.
The White House has posted several photos online of the president working in isolation. Officials said proper COVID precautions were taken during the photo sessions.
The chairman also disclosed that he did not work in the western region.
“The Oval Office is nice, but I’m here and I can’t be there,” he said from his office on the second floor of the White House.
Biden is self-isolating in the executive mansion after testing positive for Covid-19 on Thursday.
He had a dog for company. But first lady Jill Biden has decamped to her home in Wilmington – where she has tested negative for Covid – and staff at the residence have been curtailed to maintain their distance to avoid infection.
Biden said Monday that it was the commander who woke him up in the morning.
‘Actually, my dog had to wake me up this morning. My wife is not here. She usually takes him out in the morning when I’m upstairs working and so I felt this nozzle of my dog’s nose on my chest for about five or seven minutes,” Biden said.
Earlier this week, the White House released a photo of Biden taking a phone call on the Truman balcony with the commander close by.
The White House released the photo above of Biden working from the Truman Balcony with his dog Commander on Monday.
The White House has been posting photos of President Joe Biden at work since he tested positive for Covid – the photo above was posted on Thursday, the day he tested positive
Biden is taking steps this week to resume his pre-COVID life, including returning to his gym routine.
Biden’s doctor said Tuesday that the president “feels well enough to resume his physical activity.”
The president completed five days of his paxlovide treatment on Tuesday.
Biden is known as an avid biker, riding outdoors when he can but also on peloton bikes.
In June he took a spill from the bike while riding outside during a weekend at his Rehoboth Beach home but was fine, getting up to pedal off.
He usually starts his morning with a workout that usually involves some form of weight lifting.