The Biden administration plans to end the public health emergency for COVID-19 in May of 2023. The White House announced this decision earlier this month which is a clear sign that federal officials believe the lingering pandemic has almost come to an end.
During the pandemic, millions of American citizens were granted free at-home COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments in effort to get a hold of the disease. With the end of this emergency means no more funding; for example the coverage of COVID-19 tests without cost sharing.
Those who were enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and private health insurance received the coverage of testing without cost sharing. Another example of funding during the PHE was vaccines being covered for citizens with no cost sharing to those who applied.
All PHE policies are scheduled to expire around the same time the emergency itself ends.
The public health emergency will continue for the next several months to help hospitals prepare for the immediate change when it ends. Many argue that this public health emergency should continue past May, but it appears this will not occur.
Since this global pandemic started in the Spring of 2020, millions of people worldwide have been tremendously affected. Everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in some way; this means people’s work situations and how they make a living, or students attending college or high school who lost their last year of in person education.
Total cases and vaccinations
In the United States, a total of 100 million cases have been reported, and a total of 1 million cases resulted in death. In terms of total doses given here in the U.S. a recorded 670 million citizens have been vaccinated and out of 69.8 percent of the population, 229 million have been fully vaccinated.
The number of American citizens vaccinated has led to the ability for many to return to their once “normal lives” that they had before the pandemic started.
“COVID-19 should be seen as an endemic disease. Meaning, we can maintain the disease at manageable levels, where we’re not impacting our hospitals, not having to close schools, or close businesses,” said Director of Health Services Kimberly Perry-Malloy MSN, RN.
Just because the federal emergency is ending for the COVID-19 pandemic does not mean it’s over. Although reports of cases are on a decline nationally, 34,000 people are still affected daily and around 3,000 people die from complications of the disease each week in the United States.
In recent reports, officials have seen a rise in cases in western states. Some of these states include Montana and Wyoming, where cases have increased by 55%.
Back to normal
After three years of the virus, vaccines, and three rounds of booster shots, we see people back to living life as they did before the pandemic.
“The end of the public health emergency is great news. There have been improvements in the standards of care for patients with COVID-19 due to a better understanding of the virus,” said Cabrini Director of Health Services Kimberly Perry-Malloy.
The end of this emergency means no more funding for free tests, vaccines, and treatments.
“I’m actually quite excited that the emergency is being put to an end. As someone who likes to hang out with large groups, this is great to hear,” Shane Phillips, freshman computer science major, said.
The three vaccines and boosters have made it manageable for schools and stores to reopen with little to no mask mandate. There are very few places that still require masks like doctors’ offices and hospitals.