How at risk is Biden of having a severe Covid case?
President Joe Biden is likely at an increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection that will require hospitalization or result in death, according to medical literature on the virus.
President Joe Biden (pictured) has tested positive for COVID-19. He may be at an increased risk from the virus because of his old age and potential neurological issues
The White House announced the Biden, 79, has tested positive for the virus on Thursday morning and is experiencing mild symptoms.
As an elderly person, he is a part of the group at highest risk of the worst Covid outcomes. He also revealed earlier this week that he has previously suffered from cancer, and is reportedly taking drugs for high cholesterol and blood clots, according to medical information revealed last year.
Biden is also quadruple vaccinated, though, significantly reducing his risk of severe hospitalization or death. Officials also report that he is taking Pfizer’s antiviral Covid drug Paxlovid – which is believed to be 90 percent effective at preventing the worst outcomes of the virus.
There are some concerns that people who use the drug to treat their infection will have their symptoms rebound after treatment concludes, though.
‘This morning, President Biden tested positive for COVID-19. He is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and experiencing very mild symptoms,’ said Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
‘He has begun taking Paxlovid. Consistent with CDC guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time.’
It is Biden’s first reported COVID-19 infection, managing to dodge the virus for over two years to this point.
This means that he does not have natural immunity to infection, but that is where the vaccines can play a role.
The President’s age is his most significant known comorbidity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that people over the age of 75 are at the most significant risk from the virus.
More than one-in-every four deaths caused by the virus are are among the age group despite making up a relatively smaller portion of the population, according to CDC data.
Biden also previous was diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer earlier in his life. His official medical report published last year noted that he is still regularly monitored for lesions.
While the cancer is not as severe as many other forms of the disease – and is not a blood-based cancer that has been found to make patients the most vulnerable – the CDC still warns that people with cancer history be on alert.
Biden is also believed to be suffering from some sort of neurological issues. Gaffs made during speeches, briefings and other public events have raised speculation that he is experiencing cognitive decline typical for a person of his age.
His medical report from last year also noted that his disturbed manner of walking likely also indicated some issues.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) warns that people with neurological issues may be at an increased risk of acute Covid infection.
Doctors did report dears of significant cognitive issues at the time, though.
‘There were no findings that which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder,’ the doctor noted, saying the ‘extremely detailed neurologic exam was reassuring.’
Medical information revealed last year also shows that he is taking the drug Rosuvastatin, often used to treat high cholesterol.
Experts also believe that people who suffer from the condition are at an increased risk of more serious Covid infection, though there is little concrete data supporting such.
The absolute risk Biden faces is extremely low, though. The only variants believed to be circulating in America at this point are different forms of the Omicron variant.
While Omicron is the most infectious version of the virus yet, it is also more mild than other variants.
It is so mild that generating a raw mortality rate for it has become a near impossible task because of how many Americans are getting infected without even realizing so.
He is also quadruple vaccinated, having received a second booster dose at the end of March.
Protection against infection from the existing crop of Covid vaccines can quickly diminish – potentially leaving recipients open to infection months after they received the dose.
‘Findings suggest that a fourth dose may prevent premature mortality in the oldest and frailest even after the emergence of the Omicron variant, although the timing of vaccination seems to be important with respect to the slight waning observed after two months,’ a Swedish research team wrote in the Lancet last week.
Biden is also taking a course of Paxlovid, a drug which he has personally pushed as a silver bullet against the virus.
Paxlovid has been a favorite of Biden’s since the drug became widely available in the U.S. earlier this year. There are some concerns that people who are treated with it will have their symptoms rebound after infection, though (file photo)
He made it the centerpiece of his Covid response during his 2022 State of the Union address and has since launched a ‘Test to Treat’ program that distributes the drug to Americans who test positive for a drug at a pharmacy or dedicated center.
The drug is highly effective, with trials showing it could almost entirely remove the risk of a person being hospitalized or dying as a result of infection.
Symptoms of the virus have been found to rebound after the drug’s course is complete, though, raising concerns about its long term effectiveness.
In May, the CDC warned that they had noticed these types of rebounds.
‘Paxlovid continues to be recommended for early-stage treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 among persons at high risk for progression to severe disease,’ the CDC wrote in the notice.
‘…A brief return of symptoms may be part of the natural history of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in some persons, independent of treatment with Paxlovid and regardless of vaccination status.’
There have been no recorded cases of rebounded symptoms causing a person to die.
Health officials in America have said in the past that the combination of the COVID-19 vaccines and the widespread availability makes nearly every death from the virus preventable.
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