The White House is planning to end COVID-19 emergency declarations on May 11, the most public signal yet that the Biden administration now believes the worst of the pandemic is over, the White House announced Monday.
The announcemnt was in a formal statement of opposition to two GOP bills set to be voted on in the House this week that would immediately end the national emergency and public health emergency first enacted during the Trump administration that quickly opened up federal money and resources to cities and states responding to the pandemic. The Democratic-led Senate is unlikely to vote on the legislation.
May 11 will mark more than three years of the U.S. being under an emergency related to the pandemic. Former President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over COVID-19 on March 13, 2020, retroactive to March 1, 2020.
The White House has said the proposed GOP legislation “would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system — for states, for hospitals and doctors’ offices, and, most importantly, for tens of millions of Americans.” It also would lead to an abrupt end of Title 42, the pandemic-era rule that has blocked undocumented immigrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border amid public health concerns. The White House noted the policy is subject to a U.S. Supreme Court case and that it remains committed to gradually winding down the program
A public health emergency provided funding and resources from the Department of Health and Human Services to state and public health systems and hospitals, while the national emergency allowed FEMA and the Pentagon to help with the deployment of medical supplies and vaccines and measures taken by several agencies to shore up the nation’s economy.
The Centers for Disease Control said there were 3,756 new deaths attributed to COVID-19 last week, and 3,726 hospitalizations in the same period.
More than 1.1 million Americans have died from the disease, according to the CDC.
— Kathryn Watson contributed to this report
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