The White House announced on Jan. 30 that the public health emergency declared due to the COVID-19 virus, which has spread around the world, will end on May 11, 2023. This move has both symbolic significance and real consequences for the population.
The White House wants to maintain the state of emergency for a few more months initially so that hospitals, health care providers and agencies can prepare for a variety of anticipated changes. Millions of Americans:inside had received free Covid tests, treatments and vaccines during the pandemic. Not all of that will continue to be free after the emergency ends.
The White House statement said the nation needed an orderly transition out of the public health emergency because an abrupt end would lead to chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system, not only for hospitals, doctors' offices but also for U.S. citizens:in.
The U.S., like many other countries, has fallen on hard times since the Corona pandemic began in 2020. The virus has infected millions of Americans and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands. With more than 102 million confirmed cases and over 1.2 million deaths, the U.S. is among the hardest hit countries in the world.
In the early months of the pandemic, the U.S. struggled with a lack of testing, personal protective equipment, and medical supplies. Many states imposed lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus. The economic impact was devastating, with millions of Americans losing their jobs.
The declaration of emergency in the United States during the Corona pandemic is a legal mechanism that was used by the federal government and states to respond quickly to the pandemic. Strictly speaking, it is actually two declared emergencies: the national emergency and the public health emergency.
Such a declaration authorizes the president, governors, and other agencies to exercise broad measures to protect public health and contain the spread of the virus. It has also allowed agencies to quickly mobilize resources, provide medical equipment, organize quarantine shelters for people, and establish testing center and vaccination clinics.
The public health emergency was first declared by the Trump administration in January 2020 and has been renewed every 90 days since.
Without this emergency declaration, millions of U.S. citizens:in would not have been able to pay for their medical care because they either do not have health insurance or certain areas are not covered there. The pandemic has shed more light than ever on the critical state of the U.S. healthcare system.
Declarations of emergency have also enforced measures such as closing schools and businesses, limiting the size of gatherings, and imposing masking requirements.
Although emergency declarations were controversial in the United States during the Corona pandemic because it restricted some freedoms, it was seen as a necessary tool to contain the pandemic. The measures made possible by the emergency declaration helped slow the spread of the virus and protect public health and safety.
The U.S. government, particularly under the leadership of President Joe Biden, had taken extensive measures to combat the spread of the virus. The vaccination campaign began in December 2020: to date, more than 123 million Americans:inside have already been fully vaccinated. The Biden administration has additionally passed a comprehensive stimulus package to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.
Despite these efforts, the situation remains worrisome in some states. In states such as Florida and Texas, infection rates are high and there continue to be many unvaccinated people.
In the United States, Covid-19 still kills an average of more than 500 people per day, about twice as many as die per day during a "bad" flu season.
While the Republican Party has called for the emergency regulations to be lifted as early as March 2023, there are certainly critical voices, particularly from health experts, who oppose the suspension as early as now.
Despite the challenges the U.S. still faces from the pandemic, there are signs that the country is slowly returning to normal.
With the lifting of the state of emergency, the White House is relinquishing previous authority to decentralized agencies/authorities. Specifically, this ends most pandemic aid payments, additional money for health protection in individual states, and coordination of crisis management by the U.S. government.
The lifting of the Covid emergency will result in complex cost changes for tests and treatments that previously could be used by U.S. citizen:s at no cost. The fees incurred will vary depending on the type of insurance, whether private or covered by Medicare or Medicaid, or whether no health insurance is available. In addition, the U.S. state in which the individual lives may also play a role. De facto, one fears a massive increase in prices for Covid-19 tests or vaccines.
Public health experts also warn of other negative effects. During the pandemic, utilization of Medicaid, a health care program for low-income individuals, soared because insured individuals could remain in the program as long as the public health emergency was active. 5-14 million people could lose eligibility for further health care, many of them People of Color who cannot financially afford further treatment.
The U.S. government had announced that despite the end of the public health emergency, some assistance packages would remain in place. The administration is currently reviewing flexible measures approved under the public health emergency to determine which of them can remain in effect after the emergency is lifted on May 11.
With the suspension of the emergency regulations on May 11, 2023, many unvaccinated individuals expect the Covid-19 vaccination verification requirement still in effect to date to be lifted upon entry into the United States. The United States is one of the few countries in the world that still allows only vaccinated individuals to enter the United States.
It is not known whether all travel requirements will be lifted by the May date. There have been no announcements on this from the U.S. government or the CDC health authority to date.
Updated on 7.3.2023
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