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First lady Jill Biden tests positive for COVID-19

First lady Jill Biden is experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19 on Tuesday after testing positive for the viral infection, according to officials.

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“After testing negative for COVID-19 on Monday during her regular testing cadence, the First Lady began to develop cold-like symptoms late in the evening,” Elizabeth Alexander, Biden’s communications director, said in a statement. “She tested negative again on a rapid antigen test, but a PCR test came back positive.”

Alexander said that the first lady, who has been fully vaccinated and received two booster shots, has been prescribed a course of Paxlovid, an antiviral treatment aimed at reducing the severity of the disease. She was staying Tuesday at a home in South Carolina, where Alexander said she plans to stay until she has received at least two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests.

In the meantime, officials said the 71-year-old will isolate in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A White House official told reporters on Tuesday that President Joe Biden took an antigen test for COVID-19 that came back negative on Tuesday morning.

“Consistent with CDC guidance because he is a close contact of the First Lady, he will mask for 10 days when indoors and in close proximity to others,” officials said in a statement. “We will also increase the President’s testing cadence and report those results.”

The president tested positive for COVID-19 on July 21 and underwent a course of Paxlovid before testing negative for COVID-19 days later. He subsequently tested positive again in a “rebound case” of the viral infection that ended earlier this month.

President Biden was the second U.S. leader to be diagnosed with COVID-19 while in office. In October 2020, then-President Donald Trump tested positive for the viral infection. Since the start of the pandemic several other world leaders have also gotten COVID-19, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and others.

As of last week, the most recent date for which data was available, nearly 79% of the U.S. population has gotten at least one dose of any of the available COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 67% of Americans have been fully vaccinated, and over 48% of those who have been fully vaccinated have gotten at least one booster shot, CDC data shows.

Since the start of the pandemic, officials have reported more than 93 million cases of COVID-19 nationwide, resulting in over 1 million deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, 591.2 million cases have been reported, resulting in 6.4 million deaths, according to the university.

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