US Public Health Emergency For COVID-19 To End In May
President Biden

The Biden administration has concluded plans to allow the coronavirus public health emergency expire in sometime in May, the White House confirmed on Sunday, a sign that federal officials believe the pandemic has moved into a new, less dire phase.

Africa Today News, New York reports that the move carries both symbolic weight and real-world consequences. Millions of Americans have received free COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines during the pandemic, and not all of that will continue to be free once the emergency is over. The White House wants to keep the emergency in place for several more months so hospitals, health care providers, and health officials can prepare for a host of changes when it ends, officials said.

An average of more than 500 people in the United States are still dying from COVID-19 each day, about twice the number of deaths per day during a bad flu season. But at the three-year mark, the coronavirus is no longer upending everyday life to the extent it once did, partly because much of the population has at least some protection against the virus from vaccinations and prior infections.

Still, the White House said on Monday that the nation needed an orderly transition out of the public health emergency.

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The administration said it also intended to allow a separate declaration of a national emergency to expire on the same day, May 11.

“An abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system — for states, for hospitals and doctors’ offices, and, most importantly, for tens of millions of Americans,” the White House said in a statement.

The announcement came on the eve of a scheduled vote in the House on a bill that would immediately end the public health emergency. The bill, called the Pandemic Is Over Act, is one of several pandemic-related measures that the Republican-controlled chamber is scheduled to consider this week. The White House issued its statement as the administration’s response to that bill and another measure that would end the national emergency.

The back and forth signaled what is likely to be a protracted political battle between House Republicans and the White House over its handling of the pandemic. Republican lawmakers hope to put the Biden administration on the defensive, claiming it spent extravagantly in the name of battling the coronavirus.

Africa Today News, New York

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