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US renews ‘public health emergency’ declaration due to Covid-19 pandemic

<i>Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters</i><br/>A health worker prepares a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at the Saint Damien Hospital in Port-au-Prince
Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters
A health worker prepares a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at the Saint Damien Hospital in Port-au-Prince

By Jacqueline Howard, CNN

The United States remains under a state of “public health emergency” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Monday, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra signed a renewal of the determination that a “public health emergency” exists due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The determination was last renewed in April and was set to expire — as it is up for renewal every 90 days. This latest renewal is effective starting Tuesday and will continue for another 90 days.

A public health emergency declaration, which can last for the duration of the emergency or 90 days, allows for the emergency use authorization of vaccines, the access of certain funds to address the emergency, and the deployment of military trauma care providers, among other factors.

The White House had signaled for weeks that it planned to extend the public health emergency determination. In June, local health officials told CNN that the White House was expected to extend its declaration of a national public health emergency due to the pandemic.

“They are committed to ensuring that the emergency order remains in place through the end of the year — even as they recognize that the current order is about to expire in July,” Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of City and County Health Officials, told CNN last month.

“There are a lot of things tied to that public health emergency order, including it helps states and local jurisdictions with the pandemic response, but it can be impactful to other forms of assistance like Medicaid eligibility coverage provisions that were changed under the declaration of a public health emergency order,” Freeman said. “If an emergency order is lifted, some people could no longer be eligible for some of the health-related coverages that they had gotten under the emergency.”

The nation’s public health emergency has been in place since late January 2020.

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