Biden tests positive for COVID, cancels Pa. trip

He had been scheduled to visit Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 02: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the recent mass shootings from the White House on June 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. In a prime-time address Biden spoke on the need for Congress to pass gun control legislation following a wave of mass shootings including the killing of 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas and a racially-motivated shooting in Buffalo, New York that left 10 dead. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden’s positive coronavirus test means he’s a negative for a visit to Pennsylvania 

The White House announced Biden tested positive for COVID early Thursday morning so he had to cancel his plans to visit Luzerne County, where he planned to talk about the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

Biden was set to speak at Wilkes University’s Martz Hall at 3 p.m.on Thursday. 

The act included funding for gun violence prevention through schools, local law enforcement and other programs. It also added restrictions, such as closing the “boyfriend loophole” and requiring background checks for anyone under 21 seeking to purchase firearms. 

On top of the legislative victory in passing the act, Biden has made several executive actions to deal with gun violence. The actions run from simple – the Department of Veterans Affairs is promoting gun locks – to complex – billions of dollars going to different programs in specific communities. 

The president has been a fairly regular visitor to his native northeastern Pennsylvania. Last fall, he spoke at the Electric City Trolley Museum near his birthplace in Scranton to promote his infrastructure deal. 

Biden also was scheduled to travel to Philadelphia for a fundraising reception for the Democratic National Committee, according to the White House.

According to the White House, Biden’s last negative COVID test was Tuesday. The White House said Thursday that Biden was experiencing mild symptoms.

Biden, 79, is fully vaccinated against the virus and has twice received booster doses, according to the statement. He is taking Paxlovid, an antiviral prescription medication that is meant to reduce the severity of symptoms and the duration of illness. 

“Consistent with CDC guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in the statement.  

“He has been in contact with members of the White House staff by phone this morning, and will participate in his planned meetings at the White House this morning via phone and Zoom from the residence,” she continued. 

The White House plans to provide daily updates on Biden’s condition. 

The White House said Biden will continue to “carry out the full duties of the office while in isolation,” and will return to work in-person until he tests negative. 

Capital-Star Editor John L. Micek contributed additional reporting. 

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Patrick Abdalla
Patrick Abdalla

Correspondent Patrick Abdalla covers northeastern Pennsylvania for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Follow him on Twitter @PaddyAbs.

Jennifer Shutt
Jennifer Shutt

Jennifer covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her coverage areas include congressional policy, politics and legal challenges with a focus on health care, unemployment, housing and aid to families.

Ariana Figueroa
Ariana Figueroa

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance.