President Biden, who declared the COVID-19 pandemic to be over during a “60 Minutes” interview in September of last year, informed Congress on Monday that he will officially end two emergency declarations related to the virus on May 11, nearly three years after they were first declared.

The 80-year-old president’s announcement came in a statement of administration policy from the Office of Management and Budget opposing Republican House bills calling for the immediate termination of the two national emergencies. 

The White House pledged to wind down the pandemic-era declarations over the next 14 weeks, warning that ending the public health emergency and the COVID-19 national emergency immediately would have extensive consequences.

“An abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system — for states, for hospitals and doctors’ offices, and, most importantly, for tens of millions of Americans,” the Office of Management and Budget wrote.

As part of the wind down, the two emergency orders will be extended one final time until May 11, which the OMB says aligns with the Biden administration’s commitment to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the public health emergency. 

The statement from the OMB notes that the extension of the emergency declarations does not impose any restriction, such as mask or vaccine mandates, on individuals, schools, or businesses. 

The Biden administration says in the policy statement that the end of the public health emergency will lead to the immediate termination of Title 42, which allows law enforcement authorities to swiftly send migrants back across the border. 

In December, the Supreme Court blocked a court-ordered winding down of Title 42 until after it hears full oral arguments on the legal issues involved. 

The Biden administration said Monday that it needs more time to get the “necessary policies in place” to deal with the influx of migrants that would come with the end of Title 42.

“The Administration supports an orderly, predictable wind-down of Title 42, with sufficient time to put alternative policies in place. But if H.R. 382 becomes law and the Title 42 restrictions end precipitously, Congress will effectively be requiring the Administration to allow thousands of migrants per day into the country immediately without the necessary policies in place,” the OMB statement reads. 

The move to end the national emergency and public health emergency declarations would formally restructure the federal COVID-19 response to treat the virus as an endemic threat to public health that can be managed through agencies’ normal authorities.

President Joe Biden receives his updated COVID-19 booster in the South Court Auditorium at the White House campus on October 25, 2022 in Washington, DC. Biden delivered remarks on the status of Covid-19 in the United States.
Biden has been an advocate for fighting COVID-19, with the president even showing himself getting a booster shot.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

It comes as lawmakers have already ended elements of the emergencies that kept millions of Americans insured during the pandemic. Combined with the drawdown of most federal COVID-19 relief money, it would also shift the development of vaccines and treatments away from the direct management of the federal government.

Once the emergency expires, people with private insurance will have some out-of-pocket costs for vaccines, tests and treatment, while the uninsured will have to pay for those expenses in their entirety.

Then-President Donald Trump first declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency on March 13, 2020. The emergencies have been repeatedly extended by Biden since he took office in January 2021.

In September, Biden declared the COVID-19 pandemic “over” during an interview and sparked a bitter backlash from progressives and liberal Democrats.

“The pandemic is over,” Biden said during an interview with “60 Minutes.” “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over.”

With Post wires


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