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President Biden on COVID-19 diagnosis: 'I feel much better than I sound'

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President Joe Biden participates virtually in a meeting on the progress being made to lower gas prices in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus in Washington, D.C., on Friday, July 22, 2022. Photo by Rod Lamkey/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/a06442bb6be10d9c7f3d59389a4400f7/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
President Joe Biden participates virtually in a meeting on the progress being made to lower gas prices in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus in Washington, D.C., on Friday, July 22, 2022. Photo by Rod Lamkey/UPI | License Photo

July 22 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden told reporters he sounds worse than he feels after he coughed periodically throughout a virtual meeting on gas prices Friday.

It was Biden's first live appearance since his COVID-19 diagnosis Thursday.

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"I feel much better than I sound," he said at the conclusion of the meeting in response to reporters' questions about his cough.

He opened the meeting by apologizing for his voice sounding rough.

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Biden's physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, said the president has improved after a full day of antiviral treatment and his symptoms remain mild.

In a letter providing an update on Biden's condition, O'Connor said his temperature was slightly elevated -- 99.4 degrees -- Thursday night, but it's back to normal. He said his pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen levels have been normal.

"The president is tolerating treatment well," O'Connor wrote in the letter.

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After Biden tested positive, O'Connor said that he expected the president to respond well to treatment -- particularly because he's fully vaccinated and double-boosted.

"There has been nothing in the course of his illness thus far that gives me cause to alter that initial expectation," he wrote in the letter Friday.

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In a press briefing with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said Biden ate his full breakfast and lunch Friday and that his appetite hasn't changed. He said Biden also slept well Thursday night.

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"He is in a very good mood," Jha said.

The White House said Biden will be working on various efforts Friday, mostly in isolation and according to health guidelines.

On Biden's schedule Friday was a daily briefing, which he attended virtually, and a video conference with his economic team to discuss lowering gas prices. He's also is scheduled to meet virtually with senior advisers to talk about legislative priorities in Congress.

Biden's diagnosis means he will not be traveling for at least several days. He was supposed to go to Pennsylvania on Thursday to detail a proposed anti-crime bill, but the visit was canceled after the positive test result. Both first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris tested negative for COVID-19 again Friday.

On Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent well wishes to Biden and extended his "sincere sympathy" and wished him a "speedy recovery," according to state-run Xinhua.

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