After Getting COVID, NBC Highlights ‘Growing Focus’ on Biden’s Age

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On Thursday evening’s NBC Nightly News, during a segment on President Joe Biden testing positive for COVID, White House correspondent Peter Alexander mentioned a poll conducted by NBC News that shows many Americans give Biden “low marks” for having the necessary mental and physical health to be President. 

While all three networks understandably covered Biden testing positive for COVID, NBC Nightly News was the only nightly newscast to note how Biden’s age has been a liability for him and his COVID diagnosis isn’t helping matters. 

“The White House has taken significant steps to avoid the President contracting COVID, including requiring a negative test for anyone scheduled to meet with him. At 79, President Biden is America’s oldest President, and today’s diagnosis comes amid a growing focus on his age and health,” Alexander reported during his network’s segment on Biden’s illness. 

“An NBC News poll found earlier this year found just 33 percent of Americans give him high marks for having the necessary mental and physical health to be President. 50 percent of Americans give him low marks,” Alexander noted. 

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On ABC’s World News Tonight, anchor David Muir reported how “the President’s doctor, Doctor Kevin O’Connor a short time later issuing a memo saying the President is ‘Fully vaccinated and double boosted’ and is being treated with the antiviral paxlovid. He began taking it this morning.”

Muir added that “the President is 79. And from the White House today Dr. Jha the COVID response coordinator offering reassuring words. Saying the President has mild symptoms or runny nose, dry cough and repeatedly pointing out the President had his two vaccine shots, two boosters, and is now on that anti-viral.”

Meanwhile, on CBS Evening News, anchor Norah O’Donnell appeared concerned at one point in her broadcast by asking CBS’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon Lapook “how much of a concern” is it that Biden is 79 years old and has COVID.

Lapook responded that “of course there’s concern, but he should have significant protection from serious illness by the fact that he’s double boosted. That’s what we’re seeing with the cold symptoms that are very mild and on top of that he’s getting Paxlovid which should further reduce his risk by lowering the amount of virus in his system.” 

The network news coverage of Biden’s COVID diagnosis was made possible by Chewy on ABC, and Angi on CBS. Their information is linked. 

To read the relevant transcripts click expand: 

NBC Nightly News
July 21, 2022
7:04:13 p.m. Eastern 

PETER ALEXANDER: The White House has taken significant steps to avoid the President contracting COVID, including requiring a negative test for anyone scheduled to meet with him. At 79, President Biden is America’s oldest President, and today’s diagnosis comes amid a growing focus on his age and health. 

An NBC News poll found earlier this year found just 33 percent of Americans give him high marks for having the necessary mental and physical health to be President. 50 percent of Americans give him low marks. Today, the White House downplayed the level of concern with the President’s illness, despite his age. 

DOCTOR ASHISH JHA: Given how much immunity he has from vaccines, given that he was started on treatments right away, I think his — all of those things very dramatically reduce his risk of serious illness, and that’s really the goal here. 

ABC’s World News Tonight
July 21, 2022
6:32:54 p.m. Eastern 

DAVID MUIR: We begin with President Biden testing positive for COVID. Learning he had COVID after routine testing this morning. The President’s doctor, Doctor Kevin O’Connor a short time later issuing a memo saying the President is “Fully vaccinated and double boosted” and is being treated with the antiviral Paxlovid. He began taking it this morning. 

The President is 79. And from the White House today Dr. Jha the COVID response coordinator offering reassuring words. Saying the President has mild symptoms or runny nose, dry cough and repeatedly pointing out the President had his two vaccine shots, two boosters, and is now on that anti-viral.

CBS Evening News 
July 21, 2022
6:35:15 p.m. Eastern 

NORAH O’DONNELL: Well, let’s turn to CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon Lapook for more on the President’s diagnosis. So, Jon, we’ve heard the President has these mild symptoms, but he is 79 years old. How much of a concern is that? 

DOCTOR JON LAPOOK: Well, of course there’s concern, but he should have significant protection from serious illness by the fact that he’s double boosted. That’s what we’re seeing with the cold symptoms that are very mild and on top of that he’s getting Paxlovid which should further reduce his risk by lowering the amount of virus in his system. Now compare that with two years ago Norah. What a difference two years makes now that we have anti-virals and these vaccines.

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