“I’m OK,” Biden said when asked about his voice at the end of his speech, which he interrupted a few times to escape.
“I get tested every day, a Covid test,” he added. “What I have is a 1 and a half year old grandson who had a cold and who likes to kiss his pop. At least it’s just a cold.”
Biden began his planned address on the November job report by sounding crooked, his voice audibly lower than its normal pitch. At one point, he turned away from his microphone to cough into his hand.
He did not wear a mask during his speech; he does not usually wear such one under remarks from the White House.
A day earlier, when he returned to the White House from a speech on his winter Covid strategy at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, a reporter asked Biden how he was doing.
The bite stopped and turned to the cameras, shouting, “Great!”
It is not uncommon for presidents to appear in public, sounding hoarse or more tired than usual; the job is draining and usually requires interaction with a wide range of people. Presidents become frequent users of hand sanitizer gel to avoid getting sick.
Yet during the Covid-19 pandemic, every variation in the commander’s condition is closely monitored. In the days before then-President Donald Trump revealed he had Covid last year, he sounded and appeared under the air.
This week, an excerpt from a book by Trump’s then chief of staff revealed that the former president had actually tested positive for Covid several days earlier than originally known. In the excerpt obtained by The Guardian, Mark Meadows wrote that Trump was subsequently tested negative.
For his part, Biden’s revelation that he is being tested every day for Covid goes beyond what the White House has revealed about his test regime. Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday this week that he was last tested negative on Monday.
In a letter released to the press pool on Friday, Biden’s doctor, Dr. Kevin O’Connor that the president has a cold, and he wrote: “As is clear, President Biden is experiencing some increased nasal congestion this week. This can be heard in his voice, and he feels the ‘well-known’ seed in his throat in everyday speech. ‘. “
O’Connor says the president has been given a comprehensive respiratory panel, “which includes 19 common respiratory pathogens, to include COVID-19, other coronaviruses, influenza, streptococci, to name a few … All of these tests were negative. ”
O’Connor said Biden has been tested for Covid-19 three times this week.
In February, the White House said Biden would be tested for Covid every two weeks on the recommendation of his doctor, who mentioned the vaccine’s effectiveness. Psaki said Wednesday that “nothing has changed” in the test protocols.
She also said Biden’s itinerary and list of engagements in the White House would not be changed because of the Omicron coronavirus variant, which public health officials are still studying to determine the transmissibility of and potential resistance to vaccines.
Biden’s assumption that he contracted the cold from his young grandson will be familiar to parents and grandparents of young children. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the common cold causes Americans to miss work, and says adults have an average of two or three colds a year. Children have even more.
The CDC says that most people recover from a cold in seven to 10 days, but that those with weakened immune systems, asthma or respiratory diseases are at risk for more serious illnesses such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
The agency recommends rest and fluid intake – and staying home to avoid infecting others.
He found out that Biden has a condition known as hiatal hernia, which causes him to have reflux – something the doctor said could explain his more frequent throat cleansing.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Donald Judd contributed to this report.