The United States will keep the Covid public health emergency in place until at least mid-January

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra answers questions during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss reopening schools during the coronavirus disease (COVID -19) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on September 30, 2021.

Greg Nash | Swimming pool | Reuters

The US Covid public health emergency will remain in place past Jan. 11 after the federal government did not notify states or health care providers on Friday of any intention to lift the declaration.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra has promised to give stakeholders 60 days notice before lifting the emergency declaration so they can prepare for a return to normal operations. In October, HHS extended the public health emergency until January 11.

HHS did not provide 60 days’ notice on Friday, which was the deadline for alerting states and health care providers if the federal government planned to lift the declaration on Jan. 11, according to a spokesperson for the HHS. Health and Social Services. Since HHS did not provide notification, the emergency will remain in place for at least another 60 days until mid-January.

Public health officials expect another Covid surge this winter as more people congregate indoors where the virus spreads more easily. The future also remains uncertain, as more immune-evasive omicron subvariants become dominant in the United States.

How the United States fares against Covid this fall and winter will help determine whether the emergency should be renewed in the future, Becerra told reporters in October.

The public health emergency, first declared in January 2020 and renewed every 90 days since, has had a significant impact on the US healthcare system. The declaration significantly expanded public health insurance through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Enrollment in these programs increased 26% during the pandemic to a record high of more than 89 million people in June.

HHS has estimated that up to 15 million people could lose Medicaid or CHIP once programs resume normal operations.

The emergency declaration has also given hospitals and other healthcare providers more flexibility in how they operate.

Correction: HHS clarified that the public health emergency remains in place for at least another 60 days, which is mid-January.

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