EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The word of President Biden’s COVID battle comes just four months shy of his 80 birthday.

The President is in an age bracket considered to be at the highest risk for severe COVID illness.

We’ve heard from the start of the pandemic that people ages 65 and older are among the most vulnerable to the virus’ impact. Now that COVID has stricken the president, we look at the health risk he faces.

On the day President Biden was scheduled to visit Wilkes-Barre, he instead went into isolation at the White House after testing positive for COVID. His symptoms, so far, are reported to be very mild: a dry cough, runny nose, and fatigue.

“We know that age is still one of the most important risk factors when it comes to the severity of illness that someone can encounter with COVID-19,” said Dr. Alison Brodginski, Infectious Diseases Specialist, Geisinger.

But it’s not age alone. Pre-existing health conditions are also risk factors. In President Biden’s case, he takes a statin to control his cholesterol levels. However, he has no known major health risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, or chronic lung disease.

“So we understand that you kind of start stacking some of those risk factors. It’s almost like an additive effect if you will,” Dr. Brodginski added.

There’s another factor weighing in the president’s favor.

“We do know that President Biden is fully up to date with those vaccinations,” Dr. Brodginski stated.

Up to date is something tens of millions of Americans are not.

“If you are over the age of 50 and you have not gotten a vaccine shot yet in the year 2022, you need to go get one. You need to get one now,” stated Dr. Ashish Jha, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator.

In Wilkes-Barre, where the President would have visited if not for COVID, the same vaccine message.

“We always tell people that, you know, it’s advisable if you’re eligible for a booster to stay up to date with that booster,” explained Kady Luchetti, RN, BSN, CHES, Associate Director of Personal Health, Wilkes-Barre Health Department

President Biden has begun taking the powerful and effective oral antiviral medication paxlovid.
He is said to be breathing well, with his oxygen levels reported as good. He will be monitored for further symptoms in the coming days but the expectation is that the symptoms will not worsen.