First lady Jill Biden tests positive for COVID-19

·4 min read

First lady Jill Biden has tested positive for COVID-19.

The White House announced Tuesday that Biden, 71, tested positive after testing negative Monday. According to the statement, the first lady "began to develop cold-like symptoms late in the evening."

Biden's positive test comes nine days after her husband, President Joe Biden, ended his isolation following a re-infection of COVID-19 after recovering from a rebound case. 

The first lady initially tested negative on a rapid test, but tested positive on a PCR test.

First lady Jill Biden has tested positive for COVID-19. She is currently in South Carolina with President Joe Biden and family on vacation.
First lady Jill Biden has tested positive for COVID-19. She is currently in South Carolina with President Joe Biden and family on vacation.

"The First Lady is double-vaccinated, twice boosted, and only experiencing mild symptoms," Elizabeth Alexander, the first lady's communication director, said in a statement.  "She has been prescribed a course of Paxlovid and, following CDC guidance, will isolate from others for at least five days."

President Biden tested negative on an antigen test Tuesday, according to a White House statement to pool reporters, and will remain masked for 10 days "when indoors and in close proximity to others."

More: Biden ends isolation at White House after second negative test for COVID-19

The president, 79, on Aug. 7 finished his isolation, which began July 30 after he tested positive in what his physician Kevin O'Connor called a "rebound case." Patients treated with the antiviral medication Paxlovid sometimes experience a rebound case of COVID-19.

First lady Jill Biden rides a bicycle along the beach at Kiawah Island, S.C., on Aug. 14, 2022, during a family vacation.
First lady Jill Biden rides a bicycle along the beach at Kiawah Island, S.C., on Aug. 14, 2022, during a family vacation.

President Biden first tested positive for COVID-19 July 21. He briefly ended his isolation after testing negative July 27, but did not leave the White House. He went back into isolation three days later after testing positive again.

President Biden tests positive: president reinfected with 'rebound' case

The first lady has been staying in a "private residence" on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, while on a family vacation with the president.

The White House statement added that the close contacts of the first lady have been notified and she will "return home after she receives two consecutive negative COVID tests."

According to a White House statement Monday night, the Bidens had planned to return to Washington around midday Tuesday.

Instead, the president returned to the White House without her. Before leaving Charleston, S.C., pool reporters shouted questions at the president: "How's the first lady?" He gave a thumbs up.

“Doing well,” he said.

The first lady had planned to make a two-day trip to Orlando starting Thursday to promote her Joining Forces initiative, including delivering remarks at a welcoming reception for the Warrior Games at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.

On the second day of a three-state tour of summer learning programs, first lady Jill Biden visited one such program at Schulze Academy for Technology and Arts,  serving kindergarten through 8th grade students, in Detroit, on July 21, 2022.
On the second day of a three-state tour of summer learning programs, first lady Jill Biden visited one such program at Schulze Academy for Technology and Arts, serving kindergarten through 8th grade students, in Detroit, on July 21, 2022.

The first lady has been busy in recent weeks traveling to support the administration's agenda and some of her own initiatives, including those focused on education and helping military families.

She has been seen multiple times in public and in large groups, indoors and outdoors, with and without a mask, since July 12, when she, the president and Vice President Kamala Harris hosted the Congressional Picnic on the South Lawn of the White House. It was the first time the annual event was held since 2019, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

WHO and world leaders: How we're building better, more equitable vaccine systems

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden pose at the White House as the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, arrives on the South Lawn, on July 19, 2022.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden pose at the White House as the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, arrives on the South Lawn, on July 19, 2022.

More: Man arrested after trying to enter roadway near Jill Biden's motorcade, officials say

On July 21, when the president tested positive, the first lady was in Detroit, on the second day of a three-state trip to visit summer learning programs in Connecticut, Michigan and Georgia. She had already been in New Haven, Connecticut, the day before, and stopped in Atlanta later that day.

Before entering a Detroit public school with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, a masked Biden spoke to reporters, saying her husband was doing well and that she herself had tested negative that morning.

First lady Jill Biden spoke during the American Federation of Teachers convention, July 15, 2022, in Boston.
First lady Jill Biden spoke during the American Federation of Teachers convention, July 15, 2022, in Boston.

During the height of the pandemic in 2021, Jill Biden was a prominent public voice for wearing masks and other COVID-19 precautions.

More: First lady Jill Biden meets with Ukrainian first lady in unexpected trip to Ukraine

Both Bidens are old enough to have an elevated risk from COVID-19, and the president also has asthma. But White House doctors say the risks are ameliorated because they're fully vaccinated.

First lady Jill Biden speaks as she tours a health facility Friday, July 1, 2022, in Richmond, Virginia. Biden was promoting COVID-19 vaccines for small children.
First lady Jill Biden speaks as she tours a health facility Friday, July 1, 2022, in Richmond, Virginia. Biden was promoting COVID-19 vaccines for small children.

The president is not the first commander-in-chief to test positive for COVID-19: His predecessor, former President Donald Trump, tested positive in October 2020, and was hospitalized for three nights at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland.

And Jill Biden is not the first first lady to test positive: Melania Trump also got COVID-19 at the same time as her husband. Later in October, she canceled her first campaign rally in months, citing a "lingering cough" from her diagnosis.

"I was very fortunate as my diagnosis came with minimal symptoms, though they hit me all at once and it seemed to be a roller coaster of symptoms in the days after," she said in an essay about her experience posted on the White House website. "I experienced body aches, a cough and headaches, and felt extremely tired most of the time."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jill Biden tests positive for COVID-19: First lady has symptoms