Biden administration extends COVID-19 public health emergency
COVID-19 was first declared an emergency in January 2020, when the pandemic began to spread. Since then, the U.S. has renewed the public health emergency every 90 days.
January 12, 2023 6:23am
Updated: February 6, 2023 4:17pm
The Biden administration on Wednesday renewed the COVID-19 public health emergency until April, as another highly transmissible omicron subvariant rises concerns in the United States.
“The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency remains in effect, and as HHS committed to earlier, we will provide a 60-day notice to states before any possible termination or expiration,” a spokesperson for the Health and Human Services Department said.
COVID-19 was first declared an emergency in January 2020, when the pandemic began to spread. Since then, the U.S. has renewed the COVID-19 public health emergency every 90 days.
The status of the COVID-19 pandemic as a public health emergency allows millions of Americans to access free tests, vaccines, and treatments.
As soon as COVID stops being a public health emergency, private insurance, and government health care plans will take on any virus-related costs for many Americans.
According to the Biden administration, the decision to expand the emergency status surged from the rise in COVID-19 cases in the nation and the time needed to transition to a private market for tests, vaccines, and treatments.
While daily cases in the U.S. are well below last year’s record for Omicron, they have been rising since January 4, reaching around 67,000 cases, according to the latest CDC data. Additionally, the number of deaths has increased to 390 per day.
The new surge in cases is due to the omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, which has been detected in 29 countries and is responsible for more than 40% of the coronavirus cases in the U.S.
The Health and Human Services Department (HHS), however, has told local and state officials to start preparing for the eventual end of the emergency in the near future. HHS is required to give state governments and healthcare providers at least 60 days notice before changing the status.