Biden and rebound COVID-19: What is it and should you be concerned? 

After President Joe Biden tested positive after initially testing negative and coming out of isolation, many Americans have questions about rebound COVID and what it actually means.

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President Joe Biden confirmed on July 30 that he tested positive for COVID-19 after initially testing negative and coming out of isolation — something medical officials are calling a “rebound” case.

President Joe Biden removes his face mask as he arrives to speak about the economy during a meeting with CEOs in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Thursday, July 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Biden, 79, is back in isolation. The president, who is said to not have developed any new COVID-19 symptoms, will remain in isolation for five days and until he receives a negative test result. 

During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that officials will continue to update the public on his condition via his personal physician. She emphasized that he is “doing fine.”

“He’s ready to continue to work in person,” Jean-Pierre said of Biden, who has continued to do the work of the presidency from his White House residence. 

So what exactly is a rebound COVID case, and should you be concerned? According to White House coronavirus response coordinator Ashish Jha, a rebound case can occur after initially getting better from the virus, only to suddenly get worse. A rebound patient could develop new symptoms, or simply test positive again, as in the case of President Biden. 

You may also be asking, how often does a rebound case occur? Medical officials say they are quite uncommon. Jha estimates that the total number is about 5 percent; however, he also noted that it’s not exactly clear, considering most people do not get tested after recovery. Still, rebound COVID cases are important because one can still be contagious. 

A man is tested for COVID-19, at a walk-up testing site run by Nomi Health, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in downtown Miami. Officials in Miami-Dade County have opened two new coronavirus testing sites and extended hours at Zoo Miami in response to increased demand. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

While the president was prescribed the COVID-19 treatment drug Paxlovid, Jha clarified in a detailed Twitter thread that, contrary to some concerns, Paxlovid does not cause rebound cases. Furthermore, one can have a rebound COVID case without having taken the drug. Jha made a point of noting that rebound cases do not mean that Paxlovid is an ineffective treatment. The drug and other therapies prevent serious illness or death, he said. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for Paxlovid in December 2021. The drug is authorized for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in patients 12 and older who have tested positive and are at high risk for severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. Paxlovid is taken orally by pill and can be done at the convenience of your home. 

“Paxlovid is saving lives,” tweeted Jha. “Therapeutics are an essential part of fighting this pandemic. And way too many Americans are still dying of COVID.”

He added, “And when it comes to treatments like Paxlovid and monoclonals, we need to be using more of it, not less.”

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