On Wednesday, the Biden administration extended the COVID-19 public health emergency, just before it was set to expire on April 16th.
Roll Call reported that Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra prolonged the emergency for 90 days, bringing it to the middle of July. “Becerra has previously pledged to give at least 60 days’ notice before ending the emergency, first declared in January 2020 during the Donald Trump administration,” the outlet added.
The emergency was first declared in January of 2020 and has been extended each quarter since that time, per Reuters.
The declaration allows easier access for many Americans to receive healthcare coverage and other health needs, but many are still saying it’s time to end it.
Republicans have called out the administration in the past and pushed to roll back the emergency declaration as more Americans go back to their regular schedules and routine.
More than 70 House Republicans reportedly wrote a letter to President Joe Biden in February, writing, “Americans, especially children, are in crisis. Instead of keeping us in a permanent state of emergency, it is time for this administration put people first and stop clinging to powers you currently enjoy under the PHE.”
The move comes as the mask mandate for air travel was extended on Wednesday.
As The Washington Post reported, masks will still be required when flying on commercial airliners and in other transportation areas until at least May 3rd, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“In order to assess the potential impact the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, the CDC Order will remain in place at this time,” the CDC reportedly said in a statement.
Republicans have been pressing for President Biden to get rid of the mandate.
“We believe the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) extension of the transportation mask mandate last month ran counter to your public health agency’s announcement that most Americans could forego wearing a mask indoors,” Republican House and Senate leaders on transportation committees wrote in a letter to Biden last week, per the Post. “It is our belief that these inconsistent decisions further erode public trust in the Federal government, especially when transportation operators have taken significant steps to keep passengers safe.”
The American public appears to be moving on from the coronavirus pandemic, and has appeared to be doing so for months as employees return to work, families increase travel, and activities resume.
According to a recent poll by Axios, covered by The Daily Wire, 17% of Americans think COVID-19 is “not a problem at all,” while 9% said it is “a serious crisis.”
Axios reported, “Democrats were five times as likely as Republicans to say COVID-19 is a crisis (16% to 3%). Meanwhile, Republicans were 10 times as likely as Democrats to say COVID-19 is not a problem (31% to 3%).”
Americans, too, appear to be less supportive of certain policies that were implemented during the pandemic and have proven to have negative effects.
Axios noted, “Just half of respondents now support schools requiring students, teachers and administrators to wear masks, down from seven in 10 at the start of the school year,” adding that 37% of people who responded said they have already gone back to their regular, “pre-COVID lives, a new survey high.”