First Lady Jill Biden has tested positive for Covid-19, the White House announced on Monday, amid a late summer wave of infections across the country and just days before President Joe Biden is set to fly to India for the G20 summit.
The first lady tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday evening, her spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander said.
Jill Biden is “experiencing only mild symptoms,” Alexander said.
Alexander said the first lady will remain at home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
The first lady spent time with her husband this weekend viewing hurricane recovery efforts in Florida and at their vacation home in Rehoboth Beach.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden, who flew back from Delaware alone on Monday evening, has tested negative for the virus and will “test at a regular cadence this week and monitor for symptoms.”
What To Watch For
President Biden is due to attend the G20 summit in India later this week. Biden was hoping to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping amid souring relations between Washington and Beijing, though Xi is reportedly skipping the summit. The president is also expected to travel to Hanoi afterwards in an effort to boost ties with Vietnam. Any symptoms or positive test will obviously impact his attendance and his contact with the first lady could potentially alter the willingness of world leaders or other delegates to meet with him in person.
On account of their age, both the president and the first lady are considered to be at high risk from Covid-19. Both have been vaccinated, however, which slashes the chances of severe illness and both previously contracted the virus around a year ago, recovering after treatment with antiviral drugs and experiencing “rebound” cases. The first lady’s infection is a high profile reminder of the virus’ continued presence and danger as public health experts urge people to stay vigilant and get vaccinated, with new updated shots expected to debut this fall. While Covid no longer looms as large in public and political life, cases and hospitalizations across the U.S. have risen in recent weeks and experts are concerned about the rise of new variants. Infections and hospitalizations are still low compared to the peaks of the pandemic, according to official data, though tracking the virus is harder given changes to surveillance and less diligent testing.
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