The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Monday the Biden administration is keeping the COVID-19 public health emergency in place, even after President Joe Biden said last week the pandemic is over.
Biden made the statement in an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, while also clarifying there is still work to do to contain the spread of COVID-19. An HHS spokesperson told the Daily Caller the administration still plans to keep the COVID-19 public health emergency in place beyond Oct. 13, when it is set to expire if not extended.
Some in GOP are asking — if pandemic is truly “over” — why the Biden administration would continue its public health emergency for covid, which is set to expire next month.
If Biden admin ends the emergency, consequences could include millions of people losing Medicaid coverage. https://t.co/gocaQnfd5c
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) September 19, 2022
“The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency remains in effect and as HHS committed to earlier, we will provide a 60-day notice to states before any possible termination or expiration,” the spokesperson said Monday. The Biden administration would have needed to provide notice by mid-August to meet the 60-day deadline of Oct. 13.
Biden’s declaration that the pandemic is over contradicts other messaging from the administration. Top officials like Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, have pushed in recent weeks for Americans to get the bivalent COVID-19 booster newly available to target the Omicron variant of the virus.
A number of key policies implemented by the Biden administration are reliant on the COVID-19 public health emergency staying in place to remain legally sound, such as the president’s plan to relieve student loan debt.
The administration is planning to remove one of the last remaining mask mandates in America, for preschool students in the Head Start program, soon. During the 60 Minutes interview, filmed last Wednesday at an auto show in Detroit, Biden noted that hardly anyone there was wearing a mask. (RELATED: Biden Declaring The Pandemic ‘Over’ Stunned White House Officials: REPORT)
“The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it,” Biden said. “But the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape, and so I think it’s changing.”