Biden Ends Covid Emergency Across U.S.
The COVID-19 National Emergency is officially over. President Joe Biden signed an order ending the March 13, 2020 national emergency declaration made by his predecessor Donald Trump. While the administration has been relaxing enforcement of pandemic guidelines for some time now, the end of the emergency status will have significant impact on everything from healthcare and hospitals to immigration.
For most, the end of the national emergency will be most visible in the increased price of covid tests and vaccinations. But healthcare providers across the country are bracing for changing hiring guidelines, federal funding cuts, and the return of pre-pandemic rules for hospitals and clinics. Surveillance of the spread of covid will also be curtailed, with labs no longer being required to report testing data to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Biden’s order would also put an official end to Title-42, a Trump-era policy that allowed the administration to skirt immigration law and turn away asylum seekers at the border on the grounds of disease control. The Biden administration has been attempting to wind down enforcement of the policy for some time, with Congressional Republicans leveling challenges in the courts to extend its lifespan.
While the end of Title-42 will reinstate fundamental rights provided to migrants, the transition will be a stress test for Biden’s own immigration policy. The Department of Homeland Security has preempted the change by granting more resources to border facilities and enforcement, and the administration has proposed various contingency measures to handle the expected influx of migrants.
The pandemic claimed the lives of over 1 million Americans over the last three years and led to a national resurgence of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. Most poignantly, Americans continue to question the government’s ability to prevent and handle any future deadly infectious disease outbreaks. While the pandemic has reached its official bureaucratic end, the long term effects of the national emergency will continue to be felt for years to come.