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COVID-19 back in the White House

When the White House announced Monday evening that first lady Jill Biden had tested positive for COVID-19, it reminded us that even as Americans want to put the pandemic completely behind them, the coronavirus continues to circulate — and does. now more aggressive than in months, with new Omicron subvariants becoming more productive throughout the summer.

For most people, the virus isn’t as scary or deadly as it was three years ago, but it’s still powerful enough to make people sick for days and disrupt their plans.

Read more via Yahoo Life: Can at-home COVID tests detect new Eris and Pirola variants? This is what experts say.

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The White House hunkers down

President Joe Biden receives an updated COVID-19 vaccine as he backs a new plan for Americans to get booster shots and vaccinations in 2022.

In the summer of 2022, President Biden contracted COVID-19 for the first time. Because he was fully vaccinated and carefully monitored by White House doctors, he experienced only mild symptoms and recovered quickly.

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First lady Jill Biden also tested positive at the time – and did not become seriously ill. Since then, the Bidens have generally lived as if COVID-19 has their back, traveling extensively and hosting large indoor gatherings.

President Biden allowed the national emergency surrounding COVID-19 to end last spring, a move that was decried by some public health professionals.

Now the government wants to show that a high-profile infection like the first lady’s is not a cause for alarm. “We know we have made historic progress in this country,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Tuesday, who peppered her with questions about the status of the president himself.

Read more about Yahoo Life: A new poll shows that only 12% of Americans typically wear a mask in public

Biden is negative (so far)

President Joe Biden walks through the Rose Garden as he returns from COVID-19 isolation to work in the Oval Office in 2022.President Joe Biden walks through the Rose Garden as he returns from COVID-19 isolation to work in the Oval Office in 2022.

President Joe Biden walks through the Rose Garden as he returns from COVID-19 isolation to work in the Oval Office in 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Jean-Pierre said Biden tested negative for COVID-19 on both Monday night and Tuesday. The president is expected to travel to India later this week for the G20 summit, but a coronavirus infection would obviously disrupt those plans.

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During Tuesday’s briefing, Jean-Pierre said Biden would wear a mask for the first time in months as a precaution — and would continue to get tested. “He will mask up indoors and around people,” she said. Overall, she tried to project a sense of stability despite the possibility of new infections in the White House.

“We know how to proceed,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. Essentially, the White House believes that now that masks, vaccines and tests are widely available, Americans can take as many — or as few — precautions as they want.

Read more via Yahoo News: A new COVID vaccine is coming this fall, but will people get it?

Summer ends with mini golf

A sign advertises COVID-19 vaccinations at a Walgreens pharmacy in Somerville, Massachusetts, in August. A sign advertises COVID-19 vaccinations at a Walgreens pharmacy in Somerville, Massachusetts, in August.

A sign advertises COVID-19 vaccinations at a Walgreens pharmacy in Somerville, Massachusetts, in August. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

For the most part, Americans have tried to put the pandemic behind them in the past. By 2023, masking had become an increasingly rare practice. Vaccination and booster rates had leveled off. When both the public health and national emergencies ended last spring, it seemed the nation was finally done with the coronavirus.

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But in recent weeks, hospitalizations have risen consistently across the country, a trend that suggests a mini-wave driven by Omicron’s new Pirola subvariant, also scientifically known as BA.2.86.

However, the recent spike could be nothing more than the new post-pandemic normal, with the coronavirus rearing its ugly head on a regular basis.

“This is what life with COVID will be like,” Mark Woolhouse, professor of epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, told Yahoo News.

Read more via Rolling Stone: Metallica Postpones Arizona Show as ‘COVID’ Overtakes James Hetfield

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