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President Biden again tests negative for COVID, ends isolation

President Joe Biden gestures toward reporters as he departs Marine One and walks to the Oval Office on the South Lawn of the White House on July 20.
Drew Angerer
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President Joe Biden gestures toward reporters as he departs Marine One and walks to the Oval Office on the South Lawn of the White House on July 20.

Updated August 7, 2022 at 8:33 AM ET

President Biden has left the White House for the first time since July 20, ending a second COVID isolation period in that time. He arrived in Rehoboth Beach, Del., where the first family has a home.

Biden tested negative Sunday for a second consecutive day, White House physician Dr. Kevin O'Connor said in a letter released Sunday morning.

Biden first tested positive on July 21. He left isolation on July 27 but remained at the White House. He tested positive again on July 30.

After his negative test Saturday White House physician Dr. Kevin O'Connor said in a letter that the "President continues to feel very well."

Biden has been testing daily since he first tested positive for the virus on July 21. The White House said he experienced only mild symptoms, including fatigue, a runny nose, and cough.

Biden, who is fully vaccinated and twice boosted, was prescribed the antiviral therapy Paxlovid, a standard course of treatment for people who are considered to be at higher risk of adverse affects of COVID, including anyone over 50.

His symptoms were "nearly resolved" after four days of treatment, the White House said.

The president briefly left isolation last week, after testing negative for COVID on July 27. He reentered isolation after testing positive again on July 30, in what O'Connor described as a "rebound" case.

Paxlovid manufacturer Pfizer and the Food and Drug Administration have both acknowledged reports of rebound COVID cases associated with the drug, but research into the extent and severity of the problem is ongoing.

The president has continued to work through his illness, including some public, distanced appearances at the White House and virtual events.

On Monday night, Biden delivered a speech from the Blue Room Balcony announcing that the United States had killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. He also made remarks outdoors on Friday on the economy, touting a strong July jobs report as the White House pushes back on fears of a recession due to recent negative economic growth.

Biden's agenda has progressed in Congress while he's been in isolation. Senate Democrats are poised to pass a long-sought bill to address climate change and prescription drug costs. The president also plans to hold events next week to sign bipartisan bills to boost semiconductor manufacturing and expand health care support for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.

Biden plans to travel to Kentucky on Monday with First Lady Jill Biden to tour damage from devastating floods.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eric McDaniel
Eric McDaniel edits the NPR Politics Podcast. He joined the program ahead of its 2019 relaunch as a daily podcast.