WATCH: White House COVID coordinator faces questions after Biden tests positive

White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha faces questions from reporters after President Joe Biden’s COVID diagnosis.

Watch the briefing in the player above.

The president tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and is isolating with “very mild symptoms,” the White House said, as new variants of the highly contagious virus challenge the nation’s efforts to get back to normal after two and a half years of pandemic.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden had begun taking Paxlovid, an antiviral drug designed to reduce the severity of the disease. He was isolating in the family quarters of the White House and “continuing to carry out all of his duties fully,” she said.

Biden himself said in a video posted on Twitter: “I really appreciate your inquiries and concerns. But I’m doing well, getting a lot of work done.“

Biden, 79, is fully vaccinated, after getting two doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine shortly before taking office, a first booster shot in September and an additional dose March 30.

The president will isolate for five days and can return to his usual activities after a negative test, White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told reporters at a briefing.

Jean-Pierre described the president’s symptoms as “very mild” and said Biden had been in contact with members of the White House staff by phone and would participate in his planned meetings “via phone and Zoom from the residence.”

Asked where Biden might have contracted the virus, Jean-Pierre said, ”I don’t think that matters.” She later clarified that to say the White House was focused on how he was feeling and would engage in contact tracing.

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In the video that Biden recorded outdoors to tell the world he was OK, the videographer stood six feet away and wore an N95 mask, Jean-Pierre said. The president will stop taking his anti-blood clot and cholesterol medications while receiving Paxlovid.

The White House took steps to show that the president was busy working despite his diagnosis, with Biden tweeting out a picture of himself making calls from the treaty room of the White House.

The president spent much of last week in Israel and Saudi Arabia. White House officials had told reporters that Biden planned to minimize contact during the trip, yet as soon as he exited Air Force One on July 13, he was fist-bumping, handshaking and even was seen in an occasional hug. The CDC says symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

Biden has had a minimal public schedule after returning from Saudi Arabia late on Saturday night, attending church the next day and helping to welcome Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska to the White House on Tuesday.

The president traveled to Massachusetts on Wednesday to promote efforts to combat climate change.

Up to this point, Biden’s ability to avoid the virus seemed to defy the odds, even with the testing procedures in place for those expected to be in close contact with him.

Prior waves of the virus swept through Washington’s political class, infecting Vice President Kamala Harris, Cabinet members, White House staffers and lawmakers.

Biden has increasingly stepped up his travel schedule and resumed holding large indoor events where not everyone is tested.