President Joe Biden announced that he would be ending the COVID-19 national emergency and the public health emergency on May 11th.
The COVID-19 public health emergency order was originally implemented by former President Donald Trump and has been in place since March 13, 2020. The order was extended over the next three years in 90-day increments. The decision by President Biden to end the emergency comes in response to threats from Republicans to end the emergency immediately.
The White House issued a statement on Monday saying, “If the PHE were suddenly terminated, it would sow confusion and chaos into this critical wind-down. Due to this uncertainty, tens of millions of Americans could be at risk of abruptly losing their health insurance, and states could be at risk of losing billions of dollars in funding.”
So to avoid that situation, the President is ending the emergency in a more structured manner. The emergency order should have been ended long ago but better late than never.
Official end to the pandemic
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been over for Americans for a long time, the government response has gone on for arguably far too long.
The COVID-19 emergency order has funneled billions of taxpayer dollars toward Pfizer and Moderna and other entities responding to the pandemic.
The biggest change will be much of the response to COVID-19 will now be a private-sector matter. Pfizer and Moderna are planning to sell their vaccines for $110 to $130 per dose once the emergency transition is complete.
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget issued a statement saying, “This wind-down would align with the Administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the PHE.”
Even though the White House has been forced into ending the COVID-19 emergency order, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Republicans are committed to attacking and removing any vaccine mandates that are still in place in the public sector. There is also the question of holding the government accountable for the abuse of power that was widespread at the height of the pandemic.
End of Title 42
The end of the COVID-19 emergency order will also bring an end to Title 42, an ordinance that allowed for the immediate expulsion of illegal immigrants caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
Losing Title 42 will have devastating consequences for the border as it was the last real option Border Patrol had when it came to deporting illegal immigrants.
Title 42 has been through a gauntlet of court rulings as the Biden administration has been fighting to knock it down for the past year. The Supreme Court was expected to issue a ruling upholding it in June, but that will be moot with the ending of the COVID-19 emergency order.
The situation at the border will likely worsen but at this point, it’s worth wondering how much worse things can really get. For now, Americans can cheer for the official end to the Covid-19 pandemic.