WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden said Monday that he's “feeling better every day” as he recovers from his coronavirus infection, and the White House planned a summit on Tuesday to discuss developing a new generation of vaccines that could more effectively guard against contagious variants.
After participating in a virtual meeting to talk about computer chip manufacturing, Biden said “everything's on the button” with the medical tests he's been receiving each evening.
He also said he's been sleeping better, joking that his dog had to wake him up Monday, the fourth day of Biden's COVID isolation.
“My wife's not here, she usually takes him out,” Biden said. Shortly before 7 a.m., he said, he felt “the nuzzle of my dog's nose against my chest." First lady Jill Biden has been at the family home in Delaware while the president isolates in the White House residence.
Biden said his voice remained raspy and said he still had nasal congestion, but he's on his way "to fully recovered, God willing.”
“I'm not keeping the same hours, but I'm meeting all my requirements that have come before me," he said.
It was Biden's first public appearance since Friday. Although his voice was deeper and raspier than normal, a deep and persistent cough was all but gone.
Biden also delivered prerecorded remarks to the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives conference in Orlando, Florida. He discussed the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
The president, who tested positive last Thursday, was likely infected by the BA.5 variant. A new note Monday from Biden’s physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, said his symptoms have “almost completely resolved” and his vital signs remain “absolutely normal.”
Biden has been taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid.
Tuesday — Biden's fifth day of isolation on the second floor, or living area, of the White House — will be an important moment on his road to continued recovery.
Dr. Ashish Jha, coordinator of the White House response to COVID-19, said Biden will be able to come out of isolation if he tests negative for the virus Tuesday using a rapid antigen test, while continuing to wear a well-fitting mask for the next several days.
Asked what kind of schedule Biden would then keep, Jha replied, “Let's see when he tests negative.”
Separately, the vaccine summit on Tuesday, which involves top administration officials, scientists and pharmaceutical executives, comes as the country faces a surge of infections from BA.5, a variant that's an offshoot of the omicron strain.
Although the current generation of vaccines, plus antiviral drugs, have helped prevent hospitalizations and deaths, there are hopes that new versions could provide more durable protection against disruptive infections.
Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.