Former US President Barack Obama speaks during a memorial service for the late US Senate Majority Le...

Barack Obama Tested Positive For COVID, And I Have 1 Question

Am I having flashbacks right now?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first swept across the country in 2020, it seems like everyone and their mother has, at some point, come down with the coronavirus. And while only a few people have been able to steer clear of the sickness, it’s nearly impossible to avoid (even for America’s most prominent politicians). President Barack Obama tested positive for COVID, and I just have one question: How the heck did he avoid getting it for so long? Tell me your secrets, Barack.

Two years into the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of people across the United States are still testing positive for the coronavirus — including America’s previous POTUS. “I just tested positive for COVID,” Obama wrote in a March 13 tweet. As it turns out, his symptoms were pretty mild, and former first lady Michelle Obama was in the clear. “I’ve had a scratchy throat for a couple days, but am feeling fine otherwise. Michelle and I are grateful to be vaccinated and boosted, and she has tested negative,” he added, calling attention to the importance of preventative treatment. “It’s a reminder to get vaccinated if you haven’t already, even as cases go down.”

Obama is the second U.S. president to publicly announce a positive COVID test, after then-President Donald Trump tested positive in October 2020, before vaccines were available. So, please forgive me while I have a light flashback to 18 months ago — OK, all done.

So how did Obama dodge the sickness for so long? Well, probably by following proper preventative protocols, such as masking, contact tracing, and social distancing. Last August, he even dialed down his 60th birthday bash at Martha’s Vinyard to ensure guests remained safe amid the Delta variant’s spread.

However, of all the safety precautions he’s taken, getting vaccinated to protect himself from the coronavirus was probably Obama’s smartest move. According to several public health authorities, staying up to date with your COVID vaccines (and boosters!) is proven to significantly reduce your chances of severe illness or death if you do end up getting sick. So instead of needing a full-blown hospital visit, you’ll most likely only need some bed rest to recover. Obama’s tweet was just the latest installment in his ongoing push to get more Americans vaccinated. In fact, in March 2021, Obama participated in a public health announcement video that encouraged more people to receive treatment.

Although the country’s weekly average infection rate has decreased from an 800,000 peak in January to just 35,000 infections over the last week, it’s still important to stay safe by getting vaccinated if you can, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of March 14, over 217 million Americans have been fully vaccinated — but while this is indeed a huge accomplishment, it still means only 65.8% of the population has received treatment so far. According to multiple medical sources, public health experts agree that at least 70% to 90% of the population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

So, when it comes to vaccinations, it looks like the United States still has a ways to go. At least for Obama, the road to recovery will probably be a short one.