White House extends COVID-19 public health emergency once again – The Hill

by | Jan 11, 2023 | COVID-19

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Wednesday officially renewed the ongoing public health emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic amid concerns over a more transmissible viral mutation and broad pandemic fatigue.

The announcement by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra marks the 12th renewal of the COVID-19 public health emergency, which was first declared by former HHS Secretary Alex Azar in January of 2020.

Each public health emergency declaration lasts for 90 days before expiring or getting renewed. While it is not required by any laws or department rules, Becerra has publicly committed to giving state governments and health care stakeholders a 60-day notice if plans to allow the declaration to expire.

The absence of a notice in mid-November was understood to be a tacit acknowledgement that the public health emergency would be renewed.

“The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency remains in effect, and as HHS committed to earlier, we will provide a 60-day notice to states before any possible termination or expiration,” an HHS spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill.

When the public health emergency declaration was last renewed, health officials were concerned that another winter surge in cases could occur. While cases have risen somewhat in the past few weeks, a major surge like those observed in 2021 and 2020 has not yet come to pass.

“We have seen COVID infections increase in prior winters, and it does not have to be that way this year. We now have the …

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