Biden plans to “end” Covid emergencies

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By Abigail Kim

On January 30, the White House released a statement announcing their plan to officially end the Covid-19 national and public health emergencies on May 11. 

Throughout the midst of the pandemic, the public health emergency has enabled the government to supply all Americans with Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, all at no cost. This has helped the United States to quickly cope and recover from the impact of the pandemic. 

Ending the public health emergency could see changes to public policies, how the government reacts to Covid-19, and the existing benefits that are provided to Americans. 

An average of 500 Americans are still dying from Covid-19 each day, which is 2 times the amount of people during flu season, according to the New York Times. Despite this, the White House stresses the importance of the nation moving out of the public health emergency and into a new chapter. 

The White House’s released its announcement The Pandemic is Over Act was passed, officially ending the public emergency.

Passing this act will change how people receive their vaccines, treatment, and tests. Charges will now vary depending on whether people have private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or no insurance at all, according to the New York Times.

Many Americans were previously provided with therapeutic treatments, up to eight at home Covid-19 tests, and vaccines, at no cost. 

According to the New York Times, Medicare users will now have to pay for their own at home tests and treatment, but vaccines will be free. Private insurance users will face similar consequences, but could face charges for PCR tests. People without insurance were provided with the same benefits as those with insurance during the pandemic, but ending the public health emergency will make it much harder for them to obtain those free services. 

Pfizer and Moderna have announced that the commercial price of their Covid-19 vaccine will be around $82 to $130 per dose, which is three to four times the amount that the government had to pay, according to Forbes. 

President Biden made a public statement on February 7 during the State of the National Union Address, regarding the issue of the new bill. He encouraged people to embrace the new bill as it opened up new opportunities into the flourishing of the United States as a whole. 

“Two years ago COVID had shut down our businesses, our schools were robbed of so much.  And today, COVID no longer controls our lives. And two years ago, our democracy faced its greatest threat since the Civil War.  And today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken. As we gather here tonight, we’re writing the next chapter in the great American story — a story of progress and resilience,” Biden said in his State of the Union speech.