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Biden likely infected by BA.5 subvariant of COVID-19, physician says

U.S. President Joe Biden walks from the Oval Office of the White House to board Marine One in Washington en route to Somerset, Mass., on Wednesday. He tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/31a49f124b7be9a3fb2f1c4b882275ef/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
U.S. President Joe Biden walks from the Oval Office of the White House to board Marine One in Washington en route to Somerset, Mass., on Wednesday. He tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

July 23 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden was likely infected with the BA.5 subvariant of COVID-19, a "particularly transmissible" version of the virus, his physician said Saturday.

Dr. Kevin O'Connor, physician to the president, said preliminary sequencing indicates Biden has the most prevalent subvariant of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the United States. He said BA.5 accounts for 75% to 80% of all current COVID-19 infections in the United States.

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"This data does not affect the treatment plan in any way," O'Connor wrote in a letter updating the status of Biden.

Biden, who is full vaccinated and has received two boosters, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and was reported to be experiencing mild symptoms. O'Connor said Saturday that the president's symptoms have improved after two full days on the antiviral Paxlovid.

"His primary symptoms, though less troublesome, now include sore throat, rhinorrhea, loose cough and body aches," his letter read. "His voice remains deep. His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature remain entirely normal. His oxygen saturation continues to be excellent on room air. His lungs remain clear."

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In addition to the antiviral, O'Connor said Biden is using an albuterol inhaler two to three times a day as needed for cough, and is taking acetaminophen and drinking fluids.

Though isolated, Biden has continued to work through his illness, participating in a briefing and virtual meeting on gas prices Friday. He told reporters who questioned his coughing that, "I feel much better than I sound."

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