U.S. Extends Covid Public Health Emergency Despite Biden Announcing Pandemic Over

"Why on earth did his team just extend the COVID 'public health emergency' through mid-January? Pretty clearly because it gives him unilateral power on other fronts," argues New York Post.

Image Credits: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

The U.S. government extended its COVID public health emergency despite Joe Biden recently declaring the pandemic over.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced on Thursday that his department extended the public health emergency to January 11, 2023.

From the Health and Human Services website:

As a result of the continued consequences of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, on this date and after consultation with public health officials as necessary, I, Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, pursuant to the authority vested in me under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, do hereby renew, effective October 13, 2022, the January 31, 2020, determination by former Secretary Alex M. Azar II, that he previously renewed on April 21, 2020, July 23, 2020, October 2, 2020, and January 7, 2021, and that I renewed on April 15, 2021, July 19, 2021, October 15, 2021, January 14, 2022, April 12, 2022, and July 15, 2022, that a public health emergency exists and has existed since January 27, 2020, nationwide.

The emergency order allows pharmacies to override state laws that, in some cases, limit which vaccines pharmacists could administer to certain age groups, and expands the government’s welfare spending programs and Medicaid coverage.

Biden last month proclaimed the COVID pandemic to be “over.”

But Biden’s COVID czar Ashish Jha walked Biden’s remarks back this week, claiming he actually meant that “COVID is not over.”

Polling also shows Americans are ready to move on from the pandemic and restrictive COVID policies.

“Most Americans have turned the page on the COVID pandemic, even as most acknowledge the virus is likely to be with us for the long term,” said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs.

But the public health emergency powers present an opportunity to expand the power of the executive branch, argues the New York Post editorial board:

If President Joe Biden believes “the pandemic is over,” as he declared on “60 Minutes” weeks ago, why on earth did his team just extend the COVID “public health emergency” through mid-January? Pretty clearly because it gives him unilateral power on other fronts.

The most obvious two: his student-loan giveaway and his sudden effort to keep out at least some illegal migrants

COVID itself has receded into a background threat, much like the flu, that can’t actually justify the massive broadening of executive power that a true emergency entails. But the midterms are coming, so Joe wants to posture — and this transparently cynical power grab enables it.




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