Nov. 12, 2022 — The federal government took no action to lift the COVID-19 pandemic’s status as a public health emergency on Friday, meaning free vaccines and health services designed to combat COVID will be available beyond mid-January.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has promised states a 60-day notice before lifting the public health emergency designation, which was last renewed through Jan. 11. Friday would have been the deadline if HHS planned to lift it.
With HHS taking no action, the public health emergency remains in place past Jan. 11, 2023, CNBC and other news organizations reported. The government didn’t say what would happen next. The public health emergency has been renewed every 90 days since first being declared by the Trump administration in January 2020.
The declaration allowed major changes throughout the health care system to deal with the pandemic, including the free distribution of vaccines, testing and treatments. In addition, telehealth services were expanded, and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) were extended to millions more Americans.
With winter approaching and another COVID surge possible, health officials have warned that those services would be needed again.
The number of new COVID cases has grown by 8% over the last 14 days while the number of new hospitalizations has gone up 3% over that time period, The New York Times reported. COVID-related deaths have fallen by about 10% over the last two weeks, to about 317 a day, The Times said.