Joe Biden plans to end U.S COVID-19 public health emergency in May

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Joe Biden plans to end U.S COVID-19 public health emergency in May

Despite the world still existing in a pandemic declared by the World Health Organization, U.S. President Joe Biden will end the public health emergency in May.

The Biden administration will turn its focus to managing the virus as a seasonal respiratory disease.

The public health emergency allowed hospitals and programs such as Medicaid more flexibility in addressing high patient volumes. However, a federal provision passed in December will allow Medicaid to begin declining patients in April. The Health and Human Services Department will give states two months’ notice before ending the program, making for a seamless transition.

Republican lawmakers initially wanted to end the emergency suddenly. However, the Office of Management and Budget pushed back against this, explaining that it would kick off harmful effects throughout the healthcare system.
Since January 2020, the public health emergency has been extended every 90 days in the wake of evolving strains, which have proven stronger each time. As of January 2023, over one million Americans have died from the virus, with over 100 million cases being reported worldwide.