The Biden administration plans to end the Covid public health emergency in May

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration plans to phase out the coronavirus public health emergency in May, the White House said Monday, a sign federal officials believe the pandemic has entered a new, less dire phase .

The White House wants to maintain the emergency for several months so hospitals, health care providers and health officials can prepare for a variety of changes that will come after it ends, officials said. Millions of Americans have received free Covid testing, treatment and vaccines during the pandemic, and not all of it will continue to be free when the emergency is declared over.

More than 500 Americans are still dying from Covid on average every day. But after three years, the coronavirus is no longer turning everyday life upside down as it used to, also because a large part of the population has at least some protection against the virus through vaccinations and previous infections.

Still, the White House said Monday the nation needs an orderly transition out of the public health emergency. The government said it also intends to phase out a separate declaration of a national emergency in May.

“An abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create widespread chaos and uncertainty throughout the healthcare system — for states, for hospitals and medical offices, and most importantly for tens of millions of Americans,” the White House said in a statement.

The announcement came just a day before the House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on a bill that would immediately end the public health emergency. The bill, dubbed the Pandemic Is Over Act, is one of several pandemic-related measures the Republican-controlled chamber is scheduled to consider this week.

The Biden administration has renewed the public health emergency every 90 days and committed to warning states 60 days before its termination. The health emergency was last renewed this month, and the declaration is due to expire in mid-April. The government now plans to extend it for another month before it expires in May.

The end of the emergency will trigger complex changes in the fees for Covid tests, vaccines and treatments that Americans are used to receiving for free. Their costs vary depending on whether they have private insurance, Medicare coverage, Medicaid coverage, or no health insurance. The state you live in could also play a role.

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