Five takeaways as Biden tests positive for COVID-19

President Biden examined optimistic for COVID-19 on Thursday, the most recent growth within the pandemic that continues to solid a shadow over his presidency. Listed below are 5 takeaways:

Biden’s age is the most important threat issue

Though he’s updated on his vaccines, together with two boosters, Biden is 79 years previous. 

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Whereas deaths from COVID-19 are a lot decrease now than throughout final winter’s peak, older Individuals are way more vulnerable to severe sickness. 

As of July 16, Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention information confirmed 253 individuals aged 75 to 84 have been dying every week, in comparison with solely 57 individuals aged 55 to 64. The omicron variant has confirmed to be way more adept at evading immunity, particularly amongst individuals who haven’t obtained each boosters. 

Whereas youthful, more healthy individuals are nonetheless nicely protected in opposition to extreme illness, that hasn’t been the case for older Individuals. Research present the safety in opposition to an infection from the preliminary collection of vaccines begins to wane after about six months. That makes booster pictures necessary, particularly as most COVID-19 mitigation measures have ended. 

Biden obtained his second booster in March. 

“As a result of the president is totally vaccinated, double boosted, his threat of significant sickness is dramatically decrease,” Ashish Jha, the White Home’s coronavirus coordinator, instructed reporters at a press briefing. 

Biden’s an infection is just not a shock

Most Individuals have been contaminated with COVID-19.

“It’s truly hanging to me how lengthy it took Biden to get COVID, contemplating all his interactions with individuals, and oftentimes with none masks,” mentioned Eric Topol, a molecular drugs professor and founding father of the Scripps Analysis Translational Institute. 

Biden’s optimistic check comes after he spent per week touring by means of the Center East, the place he held conferences with international officers, shook palms and delivered fist bumps. 

“We all the time knew this was a risk, and I feel the protocols have saved him from getting contaminated, however we knew that this was a risk with this extremely contagious variant,” Jha mentioned.

The case underscores simply how way more transmissible this model of the virus is. The omicron subvariant BA.5 makes up about 80 p.c of all new infections within the U.S., based on the CDC, and is essentially the most transmissible variant but, although there’s no proof it’s any extra extreme. 

Members of Congress and Cupboard officers have all examined optimistic in latest weeks, together with some for the second and even third time. 

Biden’s optimistic check places him within the firm of his chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci, Vice President Harris, Senate Majority Chief Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Well being and Human Companies Secretary Xavier Becerra, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Legal professional Common Merrick Garland, amongst others.

The an infection marks the second time a president has contracted COVID-19

However Biden’s scenario is way completely different than when former President Trump contracted the virus in 2020. 

The most important distinction is the widespread availability of vaccines. Within the fall of 2020, vaccines weren’t licensed and Trump was hospitalized for 3 days. It was later reported that Trump was in very severe situation.

Though the vaccines usually are not as efficient at blocking infections from new variants, they nonetheless “take loss of life off the desk,” mentioned Topol. 

Biden additionally has new remedy choices to assist battle the an infection, together with Pfizer’s antiviral tablet, Paxlovid. The drug is about 90 p.c efficient at conserving high-risk individuals out of the hospital if taken throughout the first few days of signs.  

Due to his age, Biden is taken into account excessive threat. He started a course of Paxlovid after his optimistic check.

Trump was handled with an experimental monoclonal antibody made by Regeneron, earlier than it was formally cleared for emergency use by the Meals and Drug Administration. The drug was solely being utilized in scientific trials, although the corporate had the flexibility to grant entry by means of compassionate use. 

White Home messaging not altering

White Home officers on Thursday used President Biden’s optimistic check for COVID-19 to emphasize the significance of getting vaccinated and boosted in opposition to the virus. 

The White Home retooled its pandemic technique final week in response to the BA.5 subvariant, although it largely was not any completely different from what the administration had been doing for months. 

Previous to Biden’s optimistic check, White Home officers in latest weeks have labored to steadiness the message about being cautious about rising infections, however not overly so.

“We must always not let it disrupt our lives, however we can’t deny that it’s a actuality we have to take care of,” Fauci mentioned at a White Home press briefing final week.

Masks usually are not required within the White Home. Jha on Thursday mentioned the White Home will proceed to comply with CDC tips when it comes to masking. CDC recommends individuals in “excessive threat” counties put on masks indoors. 

The most recent company information places about 35 p.c of United States counties within the “excessive threat” class, however these counties are house to about 55 p.c of the American inhabitants.

COVID-19 continues to be surging

Whereas the pandemic is now not on the high of individuals’s minds, Biden’s an infection reveals the virus continues to be a menace. Instances and hospitalizations are rising throughout the nation.

“A reminder to all: this pandemic is just not over and COVID-19 continues to be spreading. In case you haven’t gotten your vaccine and/or booster shot, please do,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ailing.) said in a tweet.

As of Wednesday, a median of roughly 126,000 coronavirus circumstances and 350 deaths have been being reported every day in the USA, based on the CDC. But the variety of new infections can be possible an undercount attributable to at-home testing.

“I don’t imagine that each American will probably be contaminated,” Jha mentioned, however due to how transmissible the variant is, many Individuals have already been contaminated. 

He acknowledged the necessity for virus mitigation measures, however mentioned the White Home technique is working. 

Public well being officers are additionally cautious of sounding the alarm, although circumstances and hospitalizations are up.

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