By Chris Megerian and Darlene Superville
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday emerged from five days of isolation after contracting the coronavirus, telling Americans that “COVID isn’t gone” but saying serious illness can be avoided with vaccines, booster shoots and treatments.
“You don’t need to be president to get these tools,” he said.
Biden had a mild bout with the virus that has killed millions of people around the world and disrupted daily life for more than two years.
“God bless you all, and now I get to go back to the Oval Office,” he said as he finished his remarks in the Rose Garden and returned to the West Wing.
Biden tested negative for the virus on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
“Back to the Oval,” Biden tweeted after the White House released the latest daily update from his doctor confirming that he was clear to end the isolation period that is required after someone tests positive for the coronavirus.
Biden’s tweet included a photo of a rapid COVID-19 test with the line showing a negative result.
“Thanks to Doc for the good care, and to all of you for your support,” the president’s tweet said.
Biden, 79, tested positive last week. He continued to work during isolation, holding meetings virtually and addressing groups through recorded messages.
Dr. Kevin O’Connor, Biden’s physician, wrote in Wednesday’s update that the president had completed a five-day course of Paxlovid, an anti-viral drug used to treat COVID-19. Biden remains free of fever and had not used Tylenol in the past 36 hours.
Biden’s symptoms were almost “completely resolved,” O’Connor reported.
“Given these reassuring factors, the president will discontinue his strict isolation measures,” the doctor wrote.
Biden plans to wear a “well-fitting” face mask for five more days anytime he is around others.