- Obama announced on Twitter Sunday that he tested positive for coronavirus
- ‘I’ve had a scratchy throat for a couple days, but am feeling fine otherwise,’ the former president explained in describing his symptoms
- His wife Michelle is in the clear, he said — the former first couple are both vaccinated against COVID-19 and have received their boosters as well
- Well-wishes poured in from world leaders, celebrities and top officials
- WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu bid Obama a ‘swift recovery’
“I’ve had a scratchy throat for a couple days, but am feeling fine otherwise,” the former president tweeted in describing his symptoms.
“Michelle and I are grateful to be vaccinated and boosted, and she has tested negative. It’s a reminder to get vaccinated if you haven’t already, even as cases go down,” Obama tweeted.
He did not mention whether either of his daughters Malia, 23, and Sasha, 20 were tested for the virus, but both are currently in college and likely away at school.
The diagnosis comes at a time when case rates and deaths in the U.S. are on the decline following the winter Omicron surge. It also comes as COVID restrictions are relaxing in the U.S.
There were still 38,482 new COVID-19 cases reported on Friday, according to the most recently available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Obama has been vaccinated for the last year.
He announced on Twitter in March 2021: “Michelle and I got vaccinated against COVID-19 because we know it’s the best way to beat this pandemic, protect one another, and get the country back up and running again.’
“So I hope you’ll get the vaccine as soon as it’s available to you. It could save your life,'”he added.
The announcement came at a time when many impatient Americans were anxious to get the vaccine after it rolled out, but also when the Biden administration was struggling to get vaccine-hesitant Americans to get the jab.
Obama’s tweet featured a video showing him and wife Michelle receiving the vaccine along with former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and their wives, former first ladies Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush, respectively.
In the video, which was developed by Ad Council and the COVID Collaborative and released on Wednesday, the former presidents urged Americans to receive their coronavirus vaccines to protect themselves against COVID-19 and hopefully put a stop to the ongoing pandemic.
“This vaccine means hope. It will protect you and those you love from this dangerous and deadly disease,’ Barack Obama said in the one-minute ad.
“We’ve lost enough people, and we’ve suffered enough damage,” Bill Clinton said.
Obama has faced criticism for his elitist lifestyle during COVID, including balking CDC guidelines in August of last year and hosting a large, glamorous and maskless 60th birthday bash at his home on Martha’s Vineyard at a time when cases in Massachusetts were on the rise.
Massachusetts officials urged at the time that vaccinated residents and visitors put back on their face coverings in indoor public spaces amid a surge in new Covid cases after the mask guidelines were dropped earlier in the summer.
Guests at the event flew in from around the world to attend Obama’s birthday weekend.
Well-wishes from lawmakers, global leaders and celebrities began pouring in within hours of the popular Democrat’s announcement.
Among the most unexpected was GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who wished Obama a ‘speedy recovery’ but then used her message to advocate against vaccine mandates.
“Wishing you a speedy recovery! After 2 yrs of Covid, the death rate is 1.2% & we know who is at higher risk of hospitalization or death. Thankfully 78,364,915 Americans have survived Covid. Vaccines should be a choice not a mandate, and natural immunity should be recognized,'”Greene wrote on Twitter.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on the other hand, praised Obama for using himself as an example to advocate for getting the jab.
“I wish you a swift and easy recovery from [Covid-19], President [Barack Obama] – and I couldn’t agree with you more: it’s important for people to get vaccinated,” the public health expert said.
Comedian Kathy Griffin simply replied to Obama’s tweet: ‘”Love you.”
“Sending good healing vibrations to you Sir,” actress Rosanna Arquette said.
Dave Cavell, Michelle Obama’s former speechwriter who now works in Joe Biden’s State Department, urged the former first couple to both take care of themselves.
“Rest up and feel better, Sir! Refuah Shleimah! My mother would prescribe a heavy dose of soup. We need you both at full strength for the fights to come,” Cavell stated.