Biden tests negative for COVID, but stays in isolation until 2nd test can confirm result

President Biden speaking outside at a lectern with the presidential seal.
President Biden speaks Friday outside the White House, where he’s been working in isolation, before signing two bills aimed at combating fraud in COVID-19 relief programs for small businesses.
(Evan Vucci / Pool Photo)

President Biden tested negative for COVID-19 on Saturday but will continue to isolate at the White House until he has a second negative test, his doctor said.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor wrote in his latest daily update that the president, “in an abundance of caution,” will abide by the “strict isolation measures” in place since his “rebound” infection was detected July 30, as he awaits a negative follow-up test.

Biden, 79, came down with the virus a second time three days after he had emerged from isolation from his initial bout with COVID-19, which was reported on July 21.

Rare rebound cases have been documented among a small minority of those who, like Biden, were prescribed the antiviral medication Paxlovid, which has been shown to reduce the risk of serious illness and death from the coronavirus among those at highest risk.

O’Connor wrote that Biden “continues to feel very well.”

Biden’s travel has been on hold as he awaits negative test results. He plans to visit Kentucky on Monday to view damage from catastrophic flooding and meet with affected families.

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Biden was “doing great,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Saturday when asked about his health during her appearance in Las Vegas at a joint conference of the National Assn. of Black Journalists and the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists. She said that when she speaks to the president, he tells her to “tell folks I’ve been working eight-plus hours a day.”

During his first round of the virus, Biden’s primary symptoms were a runny nose, fatigue and a loose cough, his doctor said at the time. During his rebound case, O’Connor said that only Biden’s cough had returned and that it was “almost completely resolved” by Friday.

Regulators are still studying the prevalence and virulence of rebound cases, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned doctors in May that rebounds have been reported to occur within two days to eight days after a patient initially tests negative for the virus.


“Limited information currently available from case reports suggests that persons treated with Paxlovid who experience COVID-19 rebound have had mild illness; there are no reports of severe disease,” the agency said at the time.