President Joe Biden and Personal Aide to the President Stephen Goepfert walk along the Colonnade of the White House, Aug. 26, 2021, to the Oval Office. (Adam Schultz/The White House/U.S. Government Works)
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has begun using an albuterol inhaler intermittently to treat symptoms related to COVID-19, but is feeling well, according to White House officials and the president on Friday.
“I’m feeling much better than I sound,” Biden said during a virtual meeting on gas prices with his economic advisers Friday afternoon.
When asked how he was feeling, Biden, 79, gave a thumbs up as reporters were ushered out of a room that held a screen displaying his image and where four of his advisers were present in person.
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Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor, the president’s personal physician, released a letter Friday morning noting that Biden mounted a temperature of 99.4 degrees Thursday evening and that he responded well to taking Tylenol.
Biden’s temperature “has remained normal since then” though he’s continued to experience a runny nose, fatigue and a “loose” cough.
“His voice is deeper this morning. His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation remain entirely normal, on room air,” O’Connor wrote.
Biden, who tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday, is tolerating the antiviral Paxlovid well, according to the letter. Biden has temporarily stopped taking Eliquis, or apixaban, and Crestor, or rosuvastatin. He’s started a low dose of aspirin in the meantime as an “alternative type of blood thinner,” according to O’Connor.
COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha said during a joint press briefing Friday afternoon after speaking with Biden virtually that the president is feeling well and continues to work in isolation.
Jha noted that Biden, who was previously diagnosed with asthma, has used an inhaler on and off for years when he’s had colds to treat “bronchospasm” that some people experience in very cold weather.
“He has used it a couple of times since testing positive,” Jha said.
Biden last used the inhaler in the fall when he had a cold and doesn’t use it on a regular basis, Jha said.
Since Biden’s diagnosis Thursday, the White House has identified 17 close contacts, including senior staff and members of Congress. None of those people have tested positive for COVID-19, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
The White House, she said, plans to continue releasing daily letters from the president’s physician with detailed updates on his condition during the weekend, but doesn’t plan to hold on-camera briefings.
Jean-Pierre said she didn’t have any firm updates on what the president’s schedule might look like next week.
“When it comes to his schedule, we’ll see how the president does,” she said. “He’s improving. We should all be thrilled the president of the United States is doing better.”
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