The Biden administration has extended the public health emergency declaration related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Fox News reports.
In the statement, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra announced the decision to renew the emergency declaration, citing “the continued consequences of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic” as the reason for the extension.
The statement, titled “Renewal of Determination that a Public Health Emergency Exists,” cites the authority vested in Secretary Becerra under Section 319 of the Public Health Service Act as the basis for renewing the emergency declaration.
This marks the 14th time the emergency declaration has been renewed since it was first issued in January 2020 by then-HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II.
This decision to extend the emergency declaration comes despite recent statements by Biden suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic is over. In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” in September 2022, the former Vice President was asked if the pandemic was over to which he responded, “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it.”
He also added while walking through the Detroit Auto Show, “If you notice, no one’s wearing a mask, everybody seems to be in pretty good shape.”
The exact duration of the renewed emergency declaration has not yet been announced.