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Biden Administration Extended the COVID Public Health Emergency Declaration

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Biden Administration Extended the COVID Public Health Emergency Declaration

(CTN News) – Despite President Joe Biden’s recent claim that the pandemic is over, the U.S. government has extended the Covid public health emergency until Jan. 11.

Since the pandemic started in January 2020, the Trump administration has declared a Covid public health emergency every 90 days.

The emergency declaration greatly impacted the U.S. healthcare system and social safety net by granting hospitals a nimbler response to infection surges and keeping millions enrolled in public health insurance.

In a September interview, Biden said the “pandemic is over,” but Covid will still be a problem.

In August, the CDC said high immunity levels in the U.S. and a wide range of vaccines and treatments have significantly reduced the threat Covid poses.

The Health and Human Services Department should keep the Covid public health emergency in place until the U.S. has a sustained period of low Covid transmission.

Since the pandemic started in the fall and winter, hospitals have been slammed with patients, sometimes to the breaking point.

In an interview earlier this month, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the president’s comments were “problematic” because people might let their guard down.

“There’s no doubt that could be problematic because people would think it’s over and we’re done for good, which isn’t the case,” said Fauci, who will step down in December.

Federal agencies can expand some programs without congressional approval under the emergency declaration.

Under HHS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid enrolled more than 89 million people in Medicaid, public health insurance for the poor.

Also, HHS expanded telehealth services and gave hospitals more flexibility when a surge of patients stresses them out.

Last week, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra told reporters he’d give states, healthcare providers and other stakeholders 60 days’ notice before lifting the Covid public health emergency. HHS should inform them in November if it’s lifting the emergency in January.

The end of the Covid public health emergency will dramatically affect health care in the U.S.

According to HHS, 15 million people will lose Medicaid coverage. As a result of Covid, hospitals also risk losing their flexibility.

Millions of families will lose money through the federal government’s nutrition program.

The HHS has also expanded pharmacies’ role in administering vaccines by temporarily overriding state laws that limited which vaccines pharmacists could administer to certain age groups.

As soon as HHS lifts the Covid public health emergency, it’s unclear whether the pharmacy vaccine rules will expire.

For people ages 5 and older, the Biden administration relies on pharmacies to administer updated boosters targeting the dominant omicron BA.5 subvariant.

Health officials say the new shots will protect against infection and disease better than the old ones, which aren’t working because the virus has mutated so much.

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