Washington : Seventy per cent of Americans have been infected with COVID-19.
"Based on the C.D.C data, About 70 per cent plus Americans have been infected. And I have said I think from this podium that I don't believe that every American will be infected," White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr Ashish Jha told reporters during an afternoon update on President Joe Biden's condition. Biden tested positive for COVID-19 earlier today.
"I think infections are obviously given how incredibly contagious the subvariant has been," Jha said.
Moments ahead of the briefing, the 79-year-old Biden tweeted a video from the White House's balcony saying he's only experiencing mild symptoms and it's "going to be OK."
"Hey folks, guess you heard, this morning I tested positive for COVID," he said in the video.
"But I've been double vaccinated, double boosted, the symptoms are mild, and I really appreciate your inquiries and concerns. But I'm doing well, getting a lot of work done. Going to continue to get it done. And in the meantime, thanks for your concern and keep the faith. It's going to be OK," he said.
"Folks, I'm doing great. Thanks for your concern. Just called Senator Casey, Congressman Cartwright, and Mayor Cognetti (and my Scranton cousins!) to send my regrets for missing our event today," Biden tweeted.
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator said that medical officials don't expect the president to develop additional symptoms at this point. He's breathing well and his oxygen level is normal, Jha added.
He also urged everyone over the age of 50 who has not received a booster shot in 2022 to do so "now."
Jha encouraged people who do test positive for COVID-19 to check their eligibility for treatments.
"Obviously, we work hard to protect the president, make sure that he's been vaccinated and boosted, has access to treatments," Jha said. "We also have been working very very hard to make sure every American has access to the same things. Because every American deserves access to the best vaccines, the best treatments, and they are widely available."
The President has begun taking the antiviral treatment Paxlovid, according to Jha. Both first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris tested negative Thursday, the White House said.
Biden returned from his Mideast trip around midnight Saturday and on Sunday attended a Catholic church service in Washington's Georgetown neighbourhood. He had no public events on Monday or Tuesday. He travelled to Massachusetts on Wednesday for a global warming-focused event shortly before falling ill.
Jha said that a sample of the virus that infected Biden is being sequenced, which could provide greater insight into how and where the president contracted the virus.
The BA.5 subvariant of omicron dominates the summer wave of COVID-19 in the USA. Hospitals in 35 states reported more COVID-19 patients, and hospitals in 25 states had more patients in intensive care beds, according to Health and Human Services data.
There have been 89.7 million Covid cases in the US and more than one million deaths, according to CDC. The US has been seeing a rebound in cases, which are up by more than 25 per cent in the last month. COVID-19 has killed more than 1 million Americans since March 2020.