President Joe Biden paused his Tuesday press conference — where he addressed the nation on the rise of the Omicron variant and his administration’s plan to combat the pandemic — several times to clear his throat or cough.
Biden began his remarks by touting how far the United States had come in the fight against COVID-19, noting that some 200 million had received one of the vaccines and a number had also received booster shots in the months since. He then pivoted to explain how the administration planned to move forward.
“There are some parts of this country where people are very eager to get their booster where it’s harder to get an appointment,” he continued pausing briefly to cough into his hand. “Excuse me. Starting this week I’ll be deploying hundreds more vaccinators and more sites to help get the booster shots in people’s arms.”
“I’ve ordered FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to stand up new pop-up vaccination clinics all across the country, where you can get that booster shot. We’ve opened –” Biden coughed into his hand again before continuing, “Excuse me. We’ve opened FEMA vaccination sites in Washington state and New Mexico recently as cases have increased.”
Biden’s cough did not go unnoticed — a number of people raised questions about it on Twitter.
“Biden struggling with a cough during this speech,” Fox News contributor Guy Benson noted.
“Biden coughs into his hand as he scolds unvaccinated for ‘spreading’ Covid hahahahha can’t make this up,” Liz Wheeler added.
“Does Biden have a COVID cough?” Todd Starnes asked.
Other simply suggested that the cough made them a little bit uncomfortable.
me, every time Biden coughs or clears his throat during this address: pic.twitter.com/O7rvduB23O
— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) December 21, 2021
The White House announced earlier this week that President Biden had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, but said that he has been tested since and is feeling fine.
The Associated Press’ White House correspondent Darlene Superville tweeted, “@PressSec says Biden is asymptomatic after his close contact last week with a staffer who later tested positive for COVID-19. ‘He’s asymptomatic. I spent several hours with him this morning and he is feeling great,’ she said.”
.@PressSec says Biden is asymptomatic after his close contact last week with a staffer who later tested positive for COVID-19.
“He’s asymptomatic. I spent several hours with him this morning and he is feeling great,” she said.
— darlene superville (@dsupervilleap) December 21, 2021
President Biden used the remaining time to tout his administration’s accomplishments thus far, giving credit to former President Donald Trump and private industry for making COVID-19 vaccines a reality in record time and crediting his own team and the American people with a quick and effective rollout and distribution.
He went on to reiterate his previous claims that the coming winter would likely be a difficult one for those who had not yet chosen to get vaccinated, saying that they would be the reason hospitals might see surges and in some cases be overwhelmed beyond their capacity to treat patients.