The U.S. Department for Health and Human Services “on Friday signaled it will extend the Covid-19 public health emergency beyond Jan. 12,” the scheduled date for its expiration, Inside Health Policy reports.
“Health and Human Services Secretary Secretary Xavier Becerra has promised to give stakeholders 60 days notice before lifting the emergency declaration so they can prepare for a return to normal operations,” reports Spencer Kimball of CNBC. “In October, HHS extended the public health emergency until Jan. 11. HHS did not provide a 60-day notice on Friday, which was the deadline to alert states and health-care providers if the federal government planned to lift the declaration on Jan. 11.”
Becerra told reporters in October that how the U.S. fares against Covid-19 this fall and winter will help determine whether the emergency needs to be renewed again, Kimball notes. “Public health officials are expecting another Covid surge this winter as people gather more indoors where the virus spreads easier. The future also remains uncertain as more immune evasive Omicron subvariants become dominant in the U.S.”
The HHS move will “draw praise from key health care-stakeholders who recently urged the administration to maintain the PHE and related policies through the winter to help address a potential Covid surge and to grant states more time prepare for the Medicaid redetermination process slated to re-start once the emergency ends,” IHP reports.