White House: Biden has a cough but does not have coronavirus

The White House press office said today, Tuesday, that the tests conducted for US President Joe Biden to detect infection with the emerging coronavirus (Covid-19) came back negative, after he coughed repeatedly during a speech on the South Lawn.

Biden was speaking to dozens of members of Congress, businessmen and administration officials in sweltering midday weather before signing a $53 billion bill aimed at boosting the US semiconductor industry.

Biden had to stop talking several times during the speech to turn his face aside to cough or drink water, which caught the attention of his supporters and opponents alike on social media.

Biden, 79, recently recovered from his second infection with Covid-19, and was isolated for more than two weeks at the White House until Sunday.

"The president tested negative for COVID-19 yesterday and this morning," the White House press office said shortly after the speech ended.

Ashish Jha, the coordinator of anti-Covid-19 efforts in the White House, told reporters last July that Biden suffers from "reactive airway disease", which means that he is prone to coughing constantly.

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