• Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday morning. He has "very mild" symptoms.
  • The White House says he will "continue to work in isolation until he tests negative."
  • A long list of people are in line to take over if he can't perform his duties, beginning with VP Kamala Harris.

If Joe Biden is unable to perform the duties of the US president, there is a long list of people in line to take over.

Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, making him the second sitting president to contract the virus after former President Donald Trump contracted the virus in October 2020.

Biden, 79, is fully vaccinated and twice boosted. He will "continue to work in isolation until he tests negative," consistent with White House protocol, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement, describing his symptoms as "very mild." 

However, if Biden becomes unable to serve, the Presidential Succession Act stipulates that the presidential line of succession goes down heads of Congress and then the president's cabinet. The law, first enacted in 1792 and most recently amended in 1947 at the dawn of the nuclear age, is designed to ensure the peaceful transfer of power in all circumstances.

The line of succession includes Vice President Kamala Harris, two members of Congress, and cabinet officials. Third in the line of succession is Sen. Patrick Leahy, 82, a Vermont Democrat and the president pro tempore of the Senate, who is recovering from a surgery he had on Tuesday after a hip replacement. 

Here are the first five people currently in line to take over in place of Biden:

Vice President Kamala Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on February 19, 2022. Foto: AP Photo/Michael Probst

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Foto: Scott J. Applewhite/AP

Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy

Sen. Patrick Leahy questions Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson during her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on March 22, 2022. Foto: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Secretary of State Tony Blinken

Secretary of state Antony Blinken seen at the State Department in Washington, US, April 13, 2022. Foto: Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen seen at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 8, 2022. Foto: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Grace Panetta contributed to this story.

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