The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did not notify state officials on Friday that it plans to end the emergency status for COVID-19, signaling that the Biden administration will keep the declaration past January.
The emergency designation, first issued in January 2020 at the start of the pandemic to counter its impact on public health, was renewed every quarter for 90 days.
The HHS pledged to give notice to states 60 days in advance before letting the emergency expire, which would have been Friday if the declaration last renewed in October ended on Jan. 11.
With no such notice on Friday, the public health emergency over COVID-19 may extend until the spring, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The federal designation has allowed millions of Americans to receive free tests, vaccines, and treatments.
The move has also led to a massive expansion of the public health insurance provided via Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
In October, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said that how the U.S. faces COVID-19 this fall and winter will help determine whether to renew the emergency declaration.
However, the Biden administration started signaling in August that the emergency status was likely to end in January as plans were underway to transition the government-led procurements of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics to the commercial market.
Developers of COVID-19 treatments: Pfizer (PFE), Merck (MRK), Eli Lilly (LLY)/ AbCellera (ABCL) Gilead (GILD), Eli Lilly (LLY), Vir Biotechnology (VIR)/ GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Regeneron (REGN)/ Roche (OTCQX:RHHBF)
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