“I’m fine,” Biden said when questioned about his voice at the end of his speech, prompting him to interrupt a few times to clear his throat.
“I get tested every day, a Covid test,” he added. “All I have is a 1-and-a-half year old grandson who has a cold, loves to kiss his dad. It’s just a cold anyway.”
Biden began his scheduled speech on the November work report in a hoarse voice, his voice clearly lower than normal. At one point he turned away from the microphone to cough into his hand.
He doesn’t wear a mask during his speech; he doesn’t usually wear one during speeches from the White House.
A day earlier, as he returned to the White House from his winter Covid strategy speech at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, a reporter asked Biden how he was feeling.
Pausing and turning to the camera, Biden shouted, “Wonderful!”
It is not uncommon for presidents to appear in public sounding hoarse or more tired than usual; The work is very tiring and often requires interaction with many people. Presidents have become frequent users of hand gel to avoid getting sick.
However, in the era of the Covid-19 pandemic, each variation in the commander-in-chief’s status is closely monitored. In the days before President Donald Trump revealed he had Covid last year, he listened and appeared under the weather.
This week, an excerpt from a book by then-Trump’s chief of staff revealed that the former President did indeed test positive for Covid several days earlier than was initially known. In excerpts obtained by The Guardian, Mark Meadows writes that Trump subsequently tested negative.
For his part, Biden’s disclosure that he is tested for Covid every day goes far beyond what the White House has revealed about his testing regimen. Press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday this week that the last time he tested negative was on Monday.
In February, the White House said Biden would be tested for Covid every two weeks, on the recommendation of his doctor, who cited the vaccine’s effectiveness rate. Psaki said Wednesday that “nothing has changed” in the experimental protocols.
She also said Biden’s travel schedule and attendance list at the White House would not be changed because of the Omicron coronavirus variant, which government health officials are still studying to determine transmission and potential vaccine resistance.
Biden’s suggestion that he caught a cold from his young grandchild will be familiar to parents and grandparents with young children. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the common cold is the main reason Americans miss work, and says adults get an average of two or three colds a year. Children have much more.
The CDC says most people recover from a cold within 7 to 10 days, but people with weakened immune systems, asthma, or respiratory conditions are at increased risk for more serious illnesses like pneumonia. laryngitis or pneumonia.
The agency recommends resting and drinking fluids – and staying home to avoid infecting others.
He discovered Biden has a condition called a hiatal hernia, which causes him to have reflux – which doctors say may be the cause of his throat clearing more often.
This story has been updated with additional information.