Jill Biden was last with President Joe Biden on Monday, her press secretary Vanessa Valdivia said Tuesday, the same day the first lady tested positive for COVID-19.
“She’ll be monitored by the White House medical team and follow their advice on when to return to the White House,” Valdavia said in an update on Biden’s health.
She was isolating at her home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, away from husband, who returned to the White House on Monday.
“She is currently experiencing only mild symptoms,” Elizabeth Alexander, her communications director, said in a statement issued Monday night.
This “regular cadence” will be determined in consultation with President Biden’s physician, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a Tuesday press briefing.
President Biden has no symptoms and will be following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 guidelines, Jean-Pierre said.
President Biden did not modify his schedule or travel plans. He was scheduled to award the Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Captain Larry L. Taylor for conspicuous gallantry on Tuesday afternoon. He is also scheduled to travel to New Delhi, India on Thursday to attend the G20 Leaders’ Summit.
Jean-Pierre said Biden will be masking while indoors and around people, in alignment with CDC guidelines. The CDC does not recommend that someone with a close contact test every day, Jean-Pierre said, but Biden will be tested before traveling to India.
The CDC reported a rise in COVID-19 cases nationwide last month. Between Aug. 13 and Aug. 19, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by about 19% from the previous week, according to CDC data. Total weekly hospital admissions reached 15,000.
Between Aug. 20 and Aug. 26, the number of COVID-19 deaths increased by about 18% from the previous week, according to CDC data. But Biden’s official week-ahead schedule, released shortly after the announcement of the first lady’s diagnosis, showed him traveling to New Delhi on Thursday to attend the G20 summit. Biden is scheduled to fly to Hanoi on Sunday.
Biden is running for re-election in 2024 in a campaign in which the question about his age has loomed as a key issue for voters.
He is the oldest president to seek a second term, and some Republicans have said he is too old to be given another four years in the White House. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from earlier in the summer showed a slight increase in hospital admissions, emergency department visits, and positive Covid-19 tests – although not nearly as high as in past summers.
Overall, there were about four new hospital admissions for every 100,000 people nationwide in the week ending August 19, which is considered low, according to CDC thresholds. Seven counties had high levels of Covid-19 hospitalizations. But 117 counties — about 3.6% of the country — were in the medium threshold. About a quarter of those counties were in Florida.
A new variant, BA.2.86, has captured scientists’ attention because it’s highly mutated, but so far it’s only been detected in a small number of people globally. Nonetheless, “it doesn’t look good … in terms of the virus’ nonstop evolution,” Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said. The virus “keeps finding new ways to challenge humans, to find new hosts and repeat hosts, and it’s relentless.”
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