WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The White House announced its plans to end the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency on May 11 after nearly three years.
- House Republicans are considering ending those emergency declarations immediately but the administration wants to wait until May.
- President Joe Biden said in September that the pandemic was “over,” though he said COVID was still a problem.
The White House on Monday said it will end COVID-19 emergency declarations in May, nearly three years after the U.S. imposed sweeping pandemic measures to curb the spread of the virus.
In a statement, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said the emergency declarations would be extended again until May 11 and then terminated.
“The COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency (PHE) were declared by the Trump Administration in 2020. They are currently set to expire on March 1 and April 11, respectively. At present, the Administration’s plan is to extend the emergency declarations to May 11, and then end both emergencies on that date,” OMB said in a statement.
President Joe Biden has repeatedly extended the measures for millions of Americans to receive free testing, vaccines, and treatments.
The PHE has been renewed 12 times under two different administrations after it was first declared on Jan. 31, 2020. It was recently renewed on Jan. 11.
“This wind-down would align with the Administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the PHE,” OMB added in the policy statement.
The OMB also noted that an abrupt end to the PHE would lead to “wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system.”
The administration has been paying for COVID-19 vaccines, some tests and treatments under the public health emergency declaration. When PHE expires, private insurance and government health plans will shoulder the costs.
According to OMB, the expiration of the public health emergency will also end directives, known as Title 42, that deport migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border back to Mexico.
In a separate statement, OMB said that the president would veto a proposed bill in Congress that would eliminate COVID-19 vaccine mandates for healthcare providers working on certain federal programs.
COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are declining. However, government data showed that more than 500 people continue to die each day from the disease.
Source: The Hill