Biden had sparked health concerns Friday afternoon when he gave a news conference speaking with a hoarse voice and coughing his way through the speech.
Although photos show him walking out of the restaurant without a mask, a BBC correspondent said a colleague claimed he saw Biden inside the restaurant not wearing one.
The BBC’s Tara McKelvey tweeted, ‘I was with the press pool, and we waited outside Imperfecto restaurant for him. My colleague says he saw him inside the restaurant through a window, and the president was not wearing a mask. Outside, in front of the cameras, he wore one.’
Washington had lifted its indoor mask mandate last week, but the White House has said indoor masking regulations should return amid the rise of the COVID Omicron variant in the US.
Joe Biden was spotted at the Imperfecto restaurants in Washington DC Friday night
It comes after the presidents admitted he was sick in a cough-riddled speech earlier
The president plans to make all his appearances this weekend despite the illness
A BBC correspondent claimed Biden was not wearing a mask after he entered Imperfecto
Washington DC lifted its indoor mask mandate last week, but the White House has said indoor masking regulations should return amid the rise of the COVID Omicron variant in the US
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has insisted that the president is following proper COVID-19 protocols and will be forging ahead with all public appearances, which includes an outing to the 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements on Sunday.
She said Biden was tested for COVID more often than usual this week – three times – because of his cold symptoms.
‘He’s taken over the counter cold medication and probably some cough drops and some tea,’ Psaki said.
Kevin O’Conner, Biden’s doctor, said in a statement about the president’s health, ‘As is readily apparent, the president is experiencing some increased nasal congestion this week. This can be heard in his voice and he is feeling the colloquially well-known ‘frog in one’s throat.”
‘Investigation has included a comprehensive respiratory panel which includes 19 common respiratory pathogens, to include COVID-19, other coronaviruses, influenza, streptococcus, to name a few… all of these tests were negative.’
When asked about his cold, Biden said, ‘What I have is a one and a half year old grandson who likes to kiss his pop,’ referencing the fact that he might have gotten sick through his grandson, Beau Jr.
The White House said Biden was tested three times for COVID amid the coughing
Despite Psaki’s claim that Biden follows all COVID-19 policy’s, the president was seen shopping in Nantucket on Saturday without a mask
Last weekend Biden was also caught disobeying and indoor mask mandate as he did some shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The president, who had been staying in Nantucket with his family, was spotted inside Murray’s Toggery Shop with his mask around his neck and not covering his mouth. A large ‘Face Covering Required’ sign could be seen on the front door of the shop.
The island brought back its indoor mask mandates earlier this month at a town meeting on November 18. They made the decision to return to indoor masking because scientists found a prevalence of the virus in island sewage.
Biden’s physician pronounces him ‘fit for duty’ in first public medical report
Joe Biden is ‘fit for duty,’ his doctor declared Friday after the president’s routine medical exam, which included a colonoscopy and ‘extremely detailed neurologic exam.’
Biden is ‘fit for duty, and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exceptions or accommodations,’ Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the president’s longtime physician, wrote in a six-page memo to press secretary Jen Psaki, which was released by the White House.
In the first public medical report of Biden’s presidency, O’Connor addressed a couple of items that had become topic of public discourse – the president’s notable increase in coughing and clearing his throat and whether his stiffer gait a symptom of a neurological problem – such as a stroke.
‘There were no findings that which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder,’ the doctor noted, saying the ‘extremely detailed neurologic exam was reassuring.’
O’Connor concluded the causes were actually fairly minor issues.
Biden is experiencing ‘increasing frequency and severity of ‘throat clearing’ and coughing during speaking engagements’ over the last few months and it ‘warranted detailed investigation,’ the doctor acknowledged.
The cause was found to be gastroesophageal reflux, which has him ‘clear his throat more often.’ It also contributes to his ‘occasional cough and sinus congestion.’ His symptoms are exacerbated after meals, the report notes. He has no tumors in his sinuses however, and no signs of ulcer or stomach cancer.
The president, who turns 79 on Saturday, also has an ‘ambulatory gait’ that is ‘perceptibly stiffer and less fluid than it was a year or so ago.’
That gait distrubance can ‘include a variety of neurological pathologies,’ Dr. O’Connor acknowledges. He cited the tests he ran to rule them out, saying he had a team of spine, foot and ankle, radiology, physical therapy and movement disorder neurological specialists to ‘carefully examine and assess the president.’
The neurological exam found ‘no signs of stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis,’ the memo notes, but did it did find ‘a mild peripheral neuropathy in both feet.’
A ‘combination of significant spinal arthritis, post-fracture ‘limp and compensation’ and a mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet are the explanation for the subtle gait changes which I was investigating,’ O’Connor writes.
The doctor noted Biden acknowledges being stiffer in the mornings but that it eases throughout the day, which is attributed to the ‘number of orthopedic and sports related injuries’ the president had over the years, including when he wore a boot on his right foot last year.
Biden would ‘likely benefit from some shoe orthotics’ and is in physical therapy, the memo notes.
Biden’s colonoscopy found a ‘benign-appear polyp’ that was easily removed.
‘Histologic evaluation is anticipated to be completed early next week,’ the doctor noted. ‘The president has never had colon cancer.’
O’Connor first started treating Biden in 2009 when he was vice president and he was the doctor wrote Biden’s last public medical report, which was released in December 2019 during the presidential campaign. O’Connor is a retired US Army colonel who served in the 82nd Airborne Division, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and the United States Army Special Operations Command.
Biden is 5’11’ and 184 pounds with a BMI of 25. His blood pressure was 120/70. He ‘does not use any tobacco products, does not drink alcohol and works out five days a week.’
The six-page memo on his health concludes with: ‘This patient’s current medical considerations … include a-fib with normal ventricular response, hyperlipidemia, gastresophagel reflux, seasonal allergies, spinal arthritis and mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of both feet. For these, he takes three common prescription medications and two common over-the-counter medications.’
‘President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency, to include those of chief executive, head of state and commander in chief.’
The coughing came as the US reported adding just 210,000 jobs in November, well below the estimated half a million that economists had predicted.
The unemployment rate fell to 4.2 per cent, the lowest since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. It was 4.6 per cent in October.
The U.S. has gained back 83 per cent of the jobs lost due to the pandemic.
Additionally, wages increased.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted out that the labor participation rate saw an uptick too.
It’s at its highest rate since March 2020, when the pandemic triggered widespread closures and lockdowns.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak from the White House about the jobs reports at 10:15 a.m. Friday morning.
The numbers come after a brighter October, when employers added 531,000 workers to their payrolls.
October saw the best numbers since July, before the Delta variant of COVID-19 stalled hiring.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Thursday that Omicron could pose a ‘significant’ risk to the global economy.
The U.S. economy added just 210,000 jobs in November, which is 340,000 below the expected 550,000 jobs, in a sign that companies are still wary of the coronavirus pandemic. The data was compiled before Wednesday’s announcement that Omicron was in the U.S.
‘Hopefully it’s not something that’s going to slow economic growth significantly,’ Yellen said in an interview with Reuters. ‘There’s a lot of uncertainty, but it could cause significant problems. We’re still evaluating that.’
Yellen said that new strain of the coronavirus could exacerbate supply chain issues and rising inflation.
November’s modest employment gains could temper expectations that the economy was poised for stronger growth this quarter after hitting a speed bump in the third quarter due to the Delta variant.
Consumer spending and manufacturing activity have been strong.
But the Omicron variant of COVID-19 poses a risk to the brightening picture.
While little is known about Omicron some slowdown in hiring and demand for services is likely, based on the experience with Delta, which was responsible for the slowest economic growth pace in more than a year last quarter.
There were 10.4 million job openings at the end of September. Millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic recession remain outside the labor force.
Economists say strong stock market and house prices have increased wealth for many Americans, encouraging early retirements.
Households have also accumulated massive savings and there has been a surge in self-employment.
Biden has been plagued with sluggish poll numbers, exacerbated by the administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
His victories on the Congressional front have done nothing to move the needle up, a poll from Morning Consult found this week.
He stands at 45 per cent approval and 52 per cent disapproval in a survey conducted between November 28-30.