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Biden anticipates return of in-person work later this week

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-07-26 09:44

US President Joe Biden, isolating following his COVID-19 diagnosis, appears virtually in a meeting with business and labor leaders in an auditorium on the White House campus in Washington, US, July 25, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - US President Joe Biden told reporters virtually on Monday that he's anticipating a return of in-person work by the end of the week.

Biden, who tested positive for COVID-19 last Thursday, said he's "feeling great" following a virtual meeting with administration officials, as he continues to recover from the infection while isolating at the White House.

"I've had two full nights of sleep, all the way through," he continued. "I hope I'm back to work in person by the end of this week."

This was the first time that Biden, 79, had interacted with the press since the White House announced his COVID-19 diagnosis.

Biden's symptoms for COVID-19 had "now almost completely resolved," according to the latest memo from White House physician Dr. Kevin O'Connor.

"When questioned, at this point he only notes some residual nasal congestion and minimal hoarseness," O'Connor wrote on Monday.

Fully vaccinated and twice boosted, Biden has been taking Paxlovid, an antiviral therapy produced by Pfizer and given to patients with COVID-19. He will continue to take low dose aspirin as "an alternative type of blood thinner", O'Connor noted in the memo.

None of Biden's 17 close contacts as regard to his COVID-19 case had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Monday, according to White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha.

The causative agent for Biden's COVID-19 infection is most likely the BA.5 Omicron variant, preliminary sequencing results showed.

Biden has been working despite suggestions from some American public health pundits that he should take more rest. In remarks delivered to a conference being held in Florida on Monday, Biden weighed in on the findings from the recent hearings held by the House select committee investigating the Jan 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

A long list of Biden administration officials and US lawmakers have contracted COVID-19 over the past few months.

On Monday, US Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska tweeted respectively that they had been infected with the virus.

COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are on the rise in the United States, and the BA.5 subvariant is currently the predominant variant in the country, according to the latest COVID-19 data tracker weekly review of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has exceeded 90 million, with over 1 million related deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Monday that "high quality" and "well fitted" masks were effective at preventing COVID-19 transmission and acquisition.

The United States is currently in a "BA.5 mode", Fauci, also Biden's chief medical advisor, told Hill.TV's "Rising".

"There's always the possibility that you're going to have the evolution of another variant and hopefully if that occurs it will vary off from the BA.5 only slightly in the sense of being a sub-sub-lineage of it and not something entirely different," he said.

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