The White House’s COVID emergency measures will come to an end in May. President Biden told Congress of the plan, opposing the House Republicans’ proposal to end the protections immediately.
The Office of Management and Budget stated that ending the declarations abruptly would result in chaos and uncertainty in the healthcare system for states, hospitals, doctors’ offices, and especially for millions of Americans.
The Biden administration intends to keep the protections in place until May 11 and thereafter, COVID-19 will be managed as a typical endemic threat by public health authorities.
The end of the COVID emergency measures is already underway as federal relief funds have been spent and insurance protections have ended.
Lawmakers have not approved the Biden administration’s request for funding to extend COVID testing and vaccine coverage and a spending package passed last year ended the rule preventing states from discontinuing COVID-era Medicaid coverage, which will end on April 1.
Additionally, the federal government’s control over vaccines and treatments will end, potentially leading to an increase in prices with Pfizer announcing a charge of up to $130 per dose.
The national emergency was declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020 and extended by Biden in January 2021. The Biden administration delayed ending the emergency due to the possibility of a winter surge in COVID cases, but House Republicans are ready to end it.
According to Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole, “the country has largely returned to normal” and it’s time for the government to recognize that the pandemic is over. Americans have resumed work and school with no restrictions, Cole stated.
Although COVID cases saw a slight increase this winter, they are lower than the past two winters and testing for the virus has decreased.
However, 1.1 million people have died in the US since the pandemic began, including 3,700 last week, according to the CDC. Only 15% of Americans have received a booster shot, despite their availability for months, the CDC data shows.