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Cleveland infectious disease experts weigh in on President Biden's COVID diagnosis

The White House announced Thursday President Joe Biden had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

CLEVELAND — Omicron's latest subvariant BA.5 is everywhere.

"When you look at the map of the United States and you see how transmissible is, it's just highly contagious," said Cleveland Clinic pulmonologist Dr. Sumita Khatri. "It's almost hard to evade."

In fact, COVID cases of multiple variants are up across the country. President Joe Biden's diagnosis was announced today. The President's doctor says he's being treated with anti-viral drug Paxlovid, fully-vaccinated, double-boosted, and experiencing mild symptoms.

"The typical symptoms of BA.5 and people who are vaccinated are more of a mild to moderate cold," said University Hospitals infectious disease expert Dr. Keith Armitage.

It's not yet clear which strain President Biden is infected with, but Dr. Armitage says despite being 79, being vaccinated will help with his recovery.

"I think it's very unlikely that President Biden would end up in the hospital," Dr. Armitage said.

That's because, according to both Armitage and Khatri, while immunity won't prevent you from getting a COVID infection, some protection is better than none against all variants, especially the new ones.

"BA.5 is good at escaping some of the antibodies that we produce from the vaccine or from prior infection. But there's very strong evidence that prior infection or prior immunization, provides protection against serious illness," Armitage said.

"I would really just like people to understand how thankful we in healthcare are that this is a, a way to manage a pandemic and endemic. Can you imagine if we didn't have a vaccination ... where we would be?" said Khatri.


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