On Monday, First Lady Jill Biden received a positive COVID-19 test result and is currently experiencing “mild symptoms,” according to the White House. Fortunately, President Joe Biden has tested negative for the virus.
This diagnosis has prompted a change in the first lady’s plans for the upcoming fall semester at Northern Virginia Community College, where she was scheduled to begin teaching on Tuesday. Vanessa Valdivia, the first lady’s spokesperson, stated that they are working closely with the school to ensure that her classes are covered by a substitute. Dr. Biden, aged 72, usually teaches on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
As she continues to recuperate at the family’s residence in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Dr. Biden will be closely monitored by the White House medical team. Her return to the White House will be determined based on their guidance. Unfortunately, her commitments for Tuesday, including the evening speech in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, for the send-off dinner of the US team competing in the Invictus Games in Düsseldorf, Germany, have been canceled.
Despite this development, there have been no changes to White House COVID-19 protocols or President Biden’s schedule as of now, as confirmed by an administration official to CNN.
It’s worth noting that this is not the first time the first lady has tested positive for COVID-19. Last summer, she tested positive while vacationing in South Carolina in August, while President Biden had tested positive in July. Both subsequently experienced rebound cases shortly after being treated with Paxlovid.
The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, emphasized in July that all individuals meeting with the president are regularly tested for COVID-19. This practice remains in place to ensure the safety of everyone involved in presidential meetings.
Jill Biden’s diagnosis comes at a time when the world is once again paying close attention to COVID-19, as the virus approaches its fourth seasonal cycle since its emergence. Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier in the summer indicated a slight increase in hospital admissions, emergency department visits, and positive COVID-19 tests, though not as severe as in previous summers. Overall, the hospitalization rates remained relatively low, with only a few counties reporting high levels of COVID-19 hospitalizations, primarily in Florida.
Additionally, there is growing interest among scientists in a new variant, BA.2.86, which has exhibited a high degree of mutation. While it has been detected in only a small number of individuals worldwide, experts are closely monitoring it due to its potential impact on the virus’s evolution and transmission dynamics. Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Scripps Research Translational Institute, noted that the virus continues to find new ways to challenge humans and adapt to different hosts, underscoring the need for ongoing vigilance in the fight against COVID-19.