On Monday, the Biden administration announced it plans to end the COVID-19 national emergency declarations on May 11, 2023. Before the declarations expire, the administration and other national, state, and local leaders will share detailed information about what the policy change will mean for organizations, healthcare providers, individuals, and families.
In the meantime, here is some basic information about the announcement.
What is an emergency declaration?
Under U.S. law, the president can declare a state of emergency during a crisis. While the state of emergency is in effect, the executive branch has “emergency powers” to address the crisis. When the state of emergency ends, those powers are lifted, and policies that the president has enacted using emergency powers will expire.
What emergency declarations were issued related to COVID-19?
The Trump administration first declared a public health emergency (PHE) on January 31, 2020, and declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020. A PHE lasts 90 days, so it has been renewed multiple times. Governors in all 50 states have also issued state emergency declarations related to COVID-19, which are separate from the national emergency and PHE.
What COVID-19 policies will be affected?
Under the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, the government has had more flexibility in a number of health-related areas—including fully covering the cost of most COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines. When the emergency declaration ends, coverage for COVID-19 will become more like coverage for other medical conditions. In the coming weeks, more information will become available about specific changes, some of which might vary by health insurance. You can also review the Kaiser Family Foundation’s summary of policies and provisions related to the COVID-19 national emergencies.
Does this mean COVID-19 is over?
Ending the COVID-19 emergency declarations does not mean the virus has been eradicated. States of emergencies are intended to be temporary, and when emergency powers expire, that does not mean that all policies related to COVID-19 end. Continue to consult CDC’s website for guidance as well as guidance from your state and local health departments
CDC continues to advise that everyone get vaccinated, get the latest booster, use at-home tests if you’ve been exposed or have symptoms, stay home if you’re sick, and wear a high-quality mask when COVID-19 levels are high. These precautions are the best ways we can continue to protect ourselves and manage the pandemic as it continues to evolve.
Added February 1, 2023