Biden administration planning to extend Covid emergency declaration

Politico

The Biden administration is expected to extend the Covid-19 public health emergency once again, ensuring that federal measures expanding access to health coverage, vaccines and treatments remain in place beyond the midterm elections, three people with knowledge of the matter told POLITICO. 

The planned renewal follows extensive deliberations among Biden officials over the future of the emergency declaration, including some who questioned whether it was time to let the designation lapse.

Under the proposed extension, the Department of Health and Human Services would continue the declaration beyond the November elections and potentially into early 2023 — pushing the U.S. into its fourth calendar year under a Covid public health emergency.

“Covid is not over. The pandemic is not over,” one senior Biden official said. “It doesn’t make sense to lift this [declaration] given what we’re seeing on the ground in terms of cases.”

An HHS spokesperson declined to comment, and the people with knowledge of the matter cautioned the situation could still change ahead of an Aug. 15 deadline for deciding whether to let the declaration continue.

The Biden administration has increasingly pointed to the availability of Covid vaccines and treatments as evidence that Americans who are vaccinated and boosted can live with the virus in relative safety. But even with that new posture, many administration health officials remain wary of the message that ending the public health emergency declaration would send at a time when caseloads are topping 100,000 a day.

“It will end whenever the emergency ends,” one senior administration official said, summing up the internal attitude toward the declaration.

The rest is here: https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/06/biden-covid-emergency-declaration-00050195

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