CNBC – The U.S. has extended the Covid public health emergency through Jan. 11, a clear demonstration that the Biden administration still views Covid as a crisis despite President Joe Biden’s recent claim that the pandemic is over.
The public health emergency, first declared in January 2020 by the Trump administration, has been renewed every 90 days since the pandemic began.
The powers activated by the emergency declaration have had a vast impact on the U.S. health-care system and social safety net, allowing hospitals to act more nimbly when infections surge and keeping millions enrolled in public health insurance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in August said high levels of immunity in the U.S., combined with the wide availability of vaccines and treatments, has significantly reduced the threat that Covid poses to the nation’s health.
But hospitals and pharmacies called for the Health and Human Services Department to keep the public health emergency in place until the U.S. has a sustained period of low Covid transmission.
Hospitals in particular have been slammed with patients every fall and winter since the pandemic began, at times pushing them to the breaking point.
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, in an interview earlier this month, said the president’s comments were “problematic” because some people might let their guard down and not stay up to date on their vaccines.
“It’s obvious that could be problematic because people would interpret it as it’s completely over and we’re done for good, which is not the case — no doubt about that,” said Fauci, who is stepping down in December.
The emergency declaration gives federal agencies broad authority to expand certain programs without congressional approval …