Biden makes first public appearance since COVID-19 diagnosis
President Biden on Friday met virtually with his economic team to discuss gas prices, making his first public appearance on camera since testing positive for COVID-19.
Biden, appearing via video stream from the White House residence, spoke about ongoing efforts to bring down prices at the pump. His voice was slightly hoarse and he could be heard clearing his throat on a couple occasions.
Asked by the press how he was feeling, Biden flashed a thumbs up.
“Let me start by apologizing, my voice. I’m feeling much better than I sound,” Biden said at the start of the event. “We’re meeting today on gas prices, and we have some really good news. Gas prices are coming down.”
The president tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday morning and has had mild symptoms, according to the White House. He has a runny nose and dry cough, and his temperature was slightly elevated on Thursday night, according to a note from the White House physician.
Biden, who is 79, is in a higher risk for serious illness because of his age. But he is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots, which medical experts have said will likely help keep his case mild.
Friday’s meeting, which was opened to the press, was one way the White House has sought to show Biden is still working despite his diagnosis.
Biden and his team have touted that gas prices has dropped each day for 37 consecutive days, as of Thursday. The average price of gas per gallon is $4.41, according to AAA, down from an average of $4.95 one month ago.
Biden said he would continue to push for lower prices by encouraging more production and refining from oil companies in areas where they are already approved to drill. He also pointed to an agreement among allies to put a price cap on Russian oil exports.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has upended the global energy market as the U.S. and its allies work to isolate Moscow. Russia is a major oil exporter, however, leading to concerns about supply.
Biden returned last weekend from a trip to the Middle East, which included a controversial meeting with Saudi Arabian leaders. Biden said after the meeting that he hoped to see results in bringing down energy prices in the coming weeks.