“I’ve had a scratch on my throat for a few days, but otherwise I’m fine,” he said on his official Twitter account. Obama also said his wife, former First Lady Michelle Obama, has tested negative.
“Michelle and I are grateful to be vaccinated and boosted,” the former president said in a Facebook post. “It’s a good reminder that even when cases go down, you should be vaccinated and boosted if you have not already done so to help prevent more severe symptoms and give COVID to others.”
Obama, 60, had recently returned to Washington, DC, after spending much of the winter in Hawaii. He tested positive in DC, said someone close to him.
The diagnosis makes Obama the second US president known to be infected with the virus, after then-President Donald Trump announced that he tested positive
in October 2020, which was before vaccines were widely available in the United States.
Obama has been a proponent of public health measures throughout the pandemic. Last August, he dramatic reduced its 60th birthday party
at Martha’s Vineyard due to concerns at the time about the Delta variant.
Currently, only 2% of the US population
about 7 million people – live in a county with a “high” Covid-19 community level, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
. The rest are at the “low” or “medium” societal level, areas where there is no recommendation for masking, or where immunocompromised individuals and individuals at high risk for serious illness are advised to take extra precautions against Covid-19.
President Joe Biden said in his first State of the Union speech
earlier this month that the US is moving “safely forward” into a less disruptive phase of the pandemic. During his speech
the president outlined his plan to get out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Thanks to the progress we’ve made over the last year, Covid-19 no longer needs to control our lives,” Biden said, acknowledging that Americans are “tired, frustrated and exhausted” over the pandemic.
This story has been updated with additional background.