By Jack Phillips
The COVID-19 public health emergency will remain intact until at least mid-January, a federal health official confirmed this week.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) previously said it would give 60 days’ notice if it was going to allow the COVID-19 emergency to expire. The deadline, which was Nov. 11, has already passed. It’s not clear if HHS will extend the emergency after that.
Sarah Lovenheim, assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS, said in a statement Monday that the public health emergency will “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 Epoch Times has contacted HHS for comment.
Despite HHS’s decision, a number of states—including those led by Democrats—have opted not to extend their respective states of emergency. For example, Gov. Jay Inslee, Washington state’s Democrat leader, ended the COVID-19 state of emergency on Oct. 31.
Once the federal health emergency ends, the federal government will stop paying for COVID-19 vaccines, tests, treatments, and footing the bill for other costs. The commercial sector, including hospitals and health insurance companies, will have to deal with the costs after that.
GOP lawmakers have pushed the White House to end the federal emergency and argued there is no more justification for it to persist. They have cited President Joe Biden’s own public comments about the pandemic being “over” during a September interview.
Outside the US
Outside the United States, Chinese Communist Party officials are continuing to pursue a “zero COVID” policy in some locales, leading to clashes between local residents and HAZMAT workers in the southern city of Guangzhou.
Videos widely shared on Twitter showed noisy scenes in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district of people charging down streets and remonstrating with white hazmat-suit-clad workers.
“It was quite tense out there last night. Everyone made sure their doors were locked,” said a Guangzhou resident who uses the name Chet and lives near where the protest took place. He said local chat groups and social media feeds had been flooded with videos and pictures of the episode.
“When it happened so close to me I found it really upsetting. I couldn’t sleep last night after watching those images,” said Chet, whose residential compound has been locked down for about 20 days.
In Shanghai, which has been reporting relatively low numbers, apartment blocks were still being sealed off and the Shanghai Disney Resort has been shut since Oct. 31 after a visitor tested positive.
“The rules are very clear, so why is our building shut?” asked a Shanghai retiree whose building was sealed off with tape on Monday morning after a “close contact” was taken away and placed in quarantine.
Reuters contributed to this report.