Biden’s health improving, no close contacts tested positive for COVID

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WASHINGTON, July 24 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s health has improved considerably and his predominant symptom now is a sore throat, his physician said on Sunday.

Biden’s cough and body aches have diminished since he tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday and he is not experiencing any shortness of breath, the physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, added.

“His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature all remain normal,” the physician said in a memo released on Sunday. His predominant symptom now is a sore throat …. His voice remains a bit deep.”

Earlier on Sunday, White House COVID coordinator Ashish Jha said none of Biden’s 17 identified close contacts have so far tested positive for the coronavirus.

Biden, 79, had mild symptoms, according to the White House. His diagnosis came as a highly contagious subvariant of the coronavirus drives a new wave of cases in the United States. 

Jha told CBS News on Sunday that Biden had that BA.5 subvariant and that he had an upper respiratory infection.

The White House has sought to underscore Biden’s ability to work through his illness. On Thursday, it released a video of him reassuring Americans he was doing fine, and on Friday he participated in virtual meetings with White House staff.

The White House has not said where Biden contracted the virus. He recently returned from a trip to the Middle East and held public events before that trip in which he had close personal interactions with scores of people.

Biden’s diagnosis is the latest challenge he has faced amid threats to his policy agenda on Capitol Hill and high inflation putting his fellow Democrats at risk of losing control of Congress in the November midterm elections.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Daniel Wallis)

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