WASHINGTON — President Biden on Monday said that he’s on the road to recovery from COVID-19, but that with first lady Jill Biden away from the White House he’s had to rely on first dog Commander to wake him up.
“I’m feeling great,” Biden told reporters at the end of a roughly hour-long virtual meeting with computer chip manufacturers.
“I’ve had two full nights of sleep all the way through,” Biden said.
“As a matter of fact, my dog had to wake me up this morning. My wife’s not here. She usually takes him out in the morning while I’m upstairs working out. And so I felt this nuzzle of my dog’s nose against my chest about five minutes to seven.”
Biden’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, said in a Monday morning memo that Biden’s “symptoms have now almost completely resolved” after four days of a five-day regimen of antiviral Paxlovid.
“My voice is still raspy,” Biden said with a noticeably deeper intonation than usual.
“I’ve had — every morning, every afternoon, excuse me, every evening — I get a full-blown series of tests, everything from the temperature to oxygen, the oxygen in my blood, to my pulse, I mean, just across the board,” Biden went on. “And so far, everything’s good. I mean, everything’s on the button. And so, I’m feeling better every day.”
Biden said that he’s reduced his work hours temporarily, but that he believes he is getting close to fully recovering and even intends to hold a discussion this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“I still have this, a little bit of a sore throat, and a little bit of a cough, but it’s changing significantly,” Biden said. “And it’s now up in the upper part of my throat. Actually, it’s more around my nose than anywhere else. And they tell me that’s par for the course. And I think I’m on my way to fulfill, total recovery, God willing.”
Biden, who tested positive Thursday morning, said “I hope I’m back to work in person by the end of this week.”
The White House has taken heat for declining to allow Dr. O’Connor to appear at a press briefing to take questions. At points, O’Connor and White House officials have provided conflicting accounts about Biden’s illness.
“You know, I’ve been keeping a full schedule,” he added. “I mean, I’ve done four major events today and, you know, I didn’t start today until 9:30. But — and I’ll finish today probably by — what time is it now? — I’ll finish about 6:30.
“I’m not keeping the same hours, but you know, I’m meeting all my requirements that come before me and we’re making decisions on a whole range of other topics as well,” he said.
Biden made it through his lengthy computer chips event without a noticeable gaffe or misstatement. One day before his diagnosis, Biden committed a series of gaffes during a speech in Massachusetts, spurring health concerns. In those remarks, he mistakenly referred to Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.) as a woman, incorrectly said that he has cancer and said that Glasgow is in England, before correcting himself to say Scotland.
Biden, taking questions from reporters at his virtual event on Monday, even joined his administration’s attempt to spin quarterly GDP numbers due for release Thursday — after his aides preemptively argued that the US economy isn’t in a recession even if the numbers show a second consecutive quarter of contraction, which would meet the standard definition of recession.
“We’re not going to be in a recession, in my view,” Biden said.
“The employment rate is still on the lowest we’ve had in history. It’s in the 3.6[%] area. We still find ourselves with people investing,” Biden continued. “My hope is we go from this rapid growth to steady growth. And so we’ll see some coming down. But I don’t think we’re going to — God willing, I don’t think we’re gonna see a recession.”