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With President Biden testing positive again, what is rebound COVID?

Health experts say some people who take antiviral medication to treat COVID end up with "rebound COVID."
Credit: AP
A nurse gives a COVID-19 test outside the Salt Lake County Health Department Friday, July 22, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

TAMPA, Fla. — Most people are tired of hearing about COVID, but health experts want people to be aware of "rebound COVID."

This can happen when someone is taking medicine to treat COVID; and after testing negative, they get a positive test.

This happened to President Joe Biden this weekend.

So why is this happening? Thomas Unnasch is a health professor at the University of South Florida. He explained it like this, "Rebound COVID you can imagine as if you had a bacterial infection and you treat it with an antibiotic. You start to feel better after three days and you stop taking the antibiotic. The bacteria were really pushed down, but they never really disappeared. When you stop taking the drug, they come right on back and that’s a rebound."

In President Biden's case, he tested positive, then all week tested negative until Saturday morning. He is taking a treatment called Paxlovid. 

Professor Unnasch said there's a small percentage of people taking that same treatment and they are also experiencing "rebound COVID."

One thing to be aware of is if you get "rebound COVID," Professor Unnasch said you are still contagious.

White House officials said President Biden feels fine and isn't showing symptoms, but Unnasch said he could still spread the virus.

With that, White House officials said President Biden will follow isolation procedures.

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