President Joe Biden will remain in isolation through at least Thursday under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines — and perhaps longer under tougher White House protocols as he continues to test positive.
The president tested positive again on Wednesday, according to White House physician Kevin O’Connor, who said Biden’s temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation “remain entirely normal.”
Biden is still experiencing “an occasional cough,” but less frequently than on Tuesday, when he had what was described as a “loose cough.”
“He remains fever-free and in good spirits,” said O’Connor. Today’s exam was conducted after Biden completed a light workout, “which he enjoyed,” he added. He will remain in strict isolation under White House rules.
The CDC guidelines are based on a timeline of five days of isolation and do not insist on a negative test that would prove that a patient is no longer shedding virus and unlikely to infect another person. That approach has been criticized by experts who say research shows people often remain infectious for longer than five days, meaning it’s vital that, when ending isolation, they continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home or in indoor spaces through Day 10.
White House protocols, by contrast, require a negative test before a patient can return to in-person work. The CDC is expected to unveil new recommendations in the coming weeks after an internal review, according to a Washington Post report Tuesday, which cited three officials and advisers who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The daily average for new U.S. cases remains close to 130,000 a day, but not all data are being captured as many people are testing at home. The average stood at 122,625 on Tuesday, according to a New York Times tracker, down 2% from two weeks ago.
The daily average for hospitalizations rose to 43,592 ], up 4% in two weeks. The daily average for deaths is up 3% to 450.
Other COVID-19 news you should know about:
• The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Gov. Roy Cooper’s secretary of health and human services should not be immune from a lawsuit over the administration’s restrictions on large gatherings in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, the Associated Press reported. The Department of Health and Human Services temporarily shut down Ace Speedway, a small stockcar racetrack in Alamance County, in June 2020 after it repeatedly defied Cooper’s executive order limiting outdoor crowds to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The racetrack filed counterclaims that August, alleging the department unlawfully singled out the business for its acts of protest and violated its employees’ constitutional right to earn a living.
• The German government unveiled plans for new coronavirus measures for the coming fall and winter seasons as it braces for an expected increase in cases during colder times, the AP reported separately. Wearing masks on planes and during long-distance travel by train and bus will be mandatory from October to early April all over Germany. Mandatory masking and the presentation of a negative coronavirus test will apply to hospitals, nursing homes and similar institutions with vulnerable people. Many other rules will be implemented individually by the country’s 16 states depending on how severely the virus spreads in their regions.
• Moderna MRNA, +16.17% is expecting to deliver COVID vaccines and boosters valued at $21 billion this year, the company said as its reported better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter. Moderna had net income of $2.2 billion, or $5.24 per share, in the second quarter of the year, down from $2.8 billion, or $6.46 per share, in the same quarter a year ago. The FactSet consensus was $4.58. Revenue came in at $4.7 billion for the quarter, up from $4.3 billion in the second quarter of last year. The FactSet consensus was $4.1 billion.
• Starbucks Corp. SBUX, +4.35% produced better earnings than expected for its third quarter, despite a massive drop-off in comparable sales in China, caused by COVID-related lockdowns. Same-store sales, an important metric for retail chains, rose 3%, as sales tanked in China. Wedbush analysts had flagged that weakness in a preview of the earnings. “Even if China reopens, one must admit, it is not the same place to do business in as it was a decade, or even five years, ago,” they wrote.
Here’s what the numbers say
The global tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 topped 579.6 million on Monday, while the death toll rose above 6.40 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. leads the world with 91.6 million cases and 1,031,052 fatalities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tracker shows that 223.2 million people living in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, equal to 67.2% of the total population. But just 107.9 million have had a booster, equal to 48.3% of the vaccinated population, and just 19.9 million of the people 50 years old and over who are eligible for a second booster have had one, equal to 30.9% of those who had a first booster.