Biden plans to end the Covid public health emergency this spring in a major shift to federal response

The Biden administration in May plans to end national and public health emergencies tied to the coronavirus, signaling a new approach to how the federal government views Covid almost three years after the pandemic started.

Existing emergency declarations would be extended until May 11 and then expire, the White House said in a statement Monday. The advance notice is designed to give states, health care providers and hospitals enough time to adjust to the changes.

The move to wind-down the emergency status, first implemented during the Trump administration, was announced in response to a pair of bills in the Republican-controlled House that would immediately end the declarations.

The White House said it opposed the GOP timeline, arguing that ending the emergency programs and policies now would “create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty” within the country’s health system and government operations, which extend to hospitals, doctors’ offices and patients.

The World Health Organization, which declared the global pandemic in 2020, said Monday that Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged a WHO committee’s “views that the COVID-19 pandemic is probably at a transition point.”

Thousands of people in the U.S. continue to die from the coronavirus virus each week, but the figure has dropped significantly over the past two years.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last week 3,756 people died due to Covid, compared with roughly 22,500 people in the last week of January 2021 and about 17,000 in the same period last year.

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