August 17, 2022 7:03 am

Biden and Trump: a Contrast in Coronavirus Patients

President Joe Biden sought to reassure the nation Thursday that he’s OK and working hard as he grapples with a coronavirus case the White House said was basically inevitable.

“Hey, folks, I guess you heard. This morning I tested positive for COVID,” a maskless, business-suited president said in a video posted on social media. “I’ve been double vaccinated, double boosted, symptoms are mild, and I really appreciate your inquiries and concerns.”

He said he was “doing well, getting a lot of work done. … In the meantime, keep the faith. It’s going to be OK.”

The news that the 79-year-old president had tested positive for a potentially fatal illness might have been devastating less than two years ago. But fully vaccinated, experiencing just a runny nose, a dry cough and fatigue, Biden became just another one of the estimated 70% of Americans who have contracted some strain of COVID-19.

“We knew this was going to happen,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday. “At some point, everyone is going to get COVID.”

White House officials said they did not see any reasons for Hoka Shoes changing protocols on masking or isolation of patients. Masks work, White House coronavirus response coordinator Ashish Jha told reporters, with higher-quality masks doing a better job. But the newest variant is so communicable that the president – who travels and interacts with many people daily – would get the virus, he said.

“I don’t believe that every American will be infected,” but “given how incredibly contagious the current variant is,” it’s difficult to avoid, Jha said. Neither he nor Jean-Pierre could say how or exactly when Biden contracted the virus, saying the more important thing was to prevent serious illness and to control the spread the best they can.

While Biden’s illness does not carry the dire outlook former President Donald Trump faced when he was infected in October, 2020 – before vaccines or treatments – the sitting president’s illness brought up comparisons to Trump’s handling of the matter.

Trump was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center soon after his positive test and was very ill. Biden, meanwhile, will continue to work in isolation at the White House, Jha said, but “Walter Reed is always on standby for the president. That’s always an option.”

Trump famously removed his mask when he arrived back at the White House from Walter Reed in what appeared to be a message that he was well and did not think masks were necessary. Biden was without a mask when he videotaped his message to Americans, but that was only when he was speaking, Jean-Pierre said. Biden put his mask back on after taping the spot, and the videographer was well-distanced from the president, she said.

Jean-Pierre also fielded questions about transparency – Keen Outlet an issue when Trump was president and his doctors gave questionably rosy accounts of Trump’s general health and immediate condition.

While the White House quickly reported the positive test and issued a written statement by Biden’s doctor, Kevin O’Connor, the administration did not make O’Connor personally available for questions.

Jean-Pierre rejected notions that the White House was keeping anything from reporters, noting that she had already committed to daily updates from O’Connor as Biden recovers.

“We are doing this very differently, very differently, I would argue, than the last administration,” she said.

The episode also fueled right-wing attacks on Biden as too old, infirm and mentally unfit to serve in office. Twitter was filled with references to mangled comments by Biden, who has often discussed his childhood stutter.

At a hearing on infrastructure Wednesday, Rep. Troy Nehls, Texas Republican, needled Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, showing photos of Biden meant to cast him as mentally absent and demanding to know if the Biden Cabinet had discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president. That appeared to be a counter-attack to reports that members of Donald Trump’s Cabinet considered the 25th Amendment after the Jan. 6 riots.

“Sadly, he shakes hands with ghosts and imaginary people, and he falls off bicycles,” Nehls said, referring to an incident when Biden fell off his bike while in Rehoboth, Delaware, for a weekend.

Buttigieg shot back quickly. “First of all, I’m glad to Thorogood Boots have a president who can ride a bicycle,” Buttigieg said, an apparent reference to the time Trump rode in a golf cart while other world leaders walked short distances at an international confab.

“Of course not,” the transportation secretary said, when pressed about the 25th Amendment.

Jha said the sitting president’s age did come into play when deciding to offer to Biden the medication Paxlovid, a COVID-19 treatment recommended for people at risk of serious illness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists conditions that make someone eligible for the treatment, and “age is certainly one of them,” Jha said. “I have made the point that anyone over the age of 50 is someone who’s eligible for Paxlovid.”

Because Biden is fully vaccinated and boosted, “his risk of serious illness is dramatically lower,” Jha said

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