Physician: Biden’s COVID-19 symptoms ‘have improved’

In this file photo taken on July 15, 2022, US President Joe Biden coughs as he speaks to the traveling press after taking part in a working session with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Al Salam Royal Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

WASHINGTON / PARIS / OTTAWA / LISBON – US President Joe Biden's COVID-19 symptoms "have improved" after the first full day of treatment, the White House physician said on Friday.

Biden's body temperature reached 37.4 degrees Celsius Thursday evening and was given Tylenol, a fever reducer, according to a memo from Kevin O'Connor.

"His temperature has remained normal since then," O'Connor wrote, adding that his symptoms remain characterized as runny nose, fatigue, and "loose" cough.

Biden's "voice is deeper" Friday morning and "his pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation remain entirely normal, on room air," the physician said.

O'Connor noted Biden is "tolerating treatment well" and will continue to take Paxlovid, an antiviral therapy produced by Pfizer and given to patients with COVID-19.

Biden, 79, tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday morning, with "mild symptoms," according to the White House. He has been fully vaccinated and twice boosted.

The US president is isolating at the White House. His aides said he continues to "carry out all of his duties fully during that time."

O'Connor said on Friday that they "will continue to monitor him closely" and keep the White House "updated with any changes in his conditions or treatment plan."

A healthcare worker dons a bouffant cap as staff treat patients suffering from coronavirus disease at Humber River Hospital's Intensive Care Unit, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on April 29, 2021. (COLE BURSTON / AFP)


The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on Friday confirmed 31,390 new COVID-19 cases for the week of July 10 to 16, pushing the total number to over 4 million.

According to the weekly update issued by the PHAC, the number of total COVID-19 cases and deaths in Canada reached 4,023,104 and 42,447 respectively. The daily positive rate during the week averaged at 16.1 percent, and daily tests per 100,000 people were 79.

The health agency said case counts underestimated the total number of COVID-19 cases because a rapid increase in cases starting in December 2021 led to changes in COVID-19 testing policies and delays in data entry.

Most people in Canada have been vaccinated. Because they're a larger group, there will naturally be more cases among vaccinated people than among unvaccinated people. However, despite their higher case counts, vaccinated people are less likely to get very sick or die, the PHAC said.

A man gets tested with an antigenic test for COVID-19 in Paris on July 6, 2022. (ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)


Citing the advice of the country's National Authority for Health (HAS), the French government refused on Friday to allow health workers not vaccinated against COVID-19 to return to the workplace, Health Minister Francois Braun said.

In a press release, issued earlier on Friday, the HAS said it supported the maintenance of the vaccine mandate and recommended that the government deny reinstatement to such health workers.

Compliance with the vaccine mandate guarantees "better protection of people treated or accompanied," the HAS said. In its recommendation, the authority cited the alarming spread of Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 and the efficacy of the vaccines.

"We will follow the opinion of scientists," Minister Braun said.

Since last year, medical workers in France have had to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to be allowed to work in health establishments. A few thousand of them have been suspended for failing to obey this rule. 


Portugal recorded 35,945 COVID-19 infections between July 12 and 18, down by 35 percent from the previous week, the Portuguese Directorate-General for Health (DGS) said Friday.

Meanwhile, 107 deaths were reported, down by 28 from a week ago, the DGS said in a weekly epidemiological bulletin.

The DGS said 93 percent of the country's population has been fully vaccinated.