The White House said in January 2021 that if and when it opts to terminate the public health emergency, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would provide states with 60 days’ notice before doing so.
“To assure you of our commitment to the ongoing response, we have determined that the PHE will likely remain in place for the entirety of 2021, and when a decision is made to terminate the declaration or let it expire, HHS will provide states with 60 days’ notice prior to termination,” acting United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Norris Cochran wrote in January 2021 to the nation’s governors.
On July 15, Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, declared that he renewed the public health emergency.
“I … do hereby renew, effective July 15, 2022, the January 31, 2020, determination by former Secretary Alex M. Azar II,” he said, noting it had been previously renewed on April 21, 2020, July 23, 2020, October 2, 2020, January 7, 2021, April 15, 2021, July 19, 2021, October 15, 2021, January 14, 2022, and April 12, 2022.
HHS’s 60-day deadline for letting states know if they plan to end the federal public health emergency in October quietly passed over the weekend, implying that the PHE (and associated policies) will be extended at least into mid-January.
— Adrianna McIntyre (@onceuponA) August 15, 2022
On July 29, the American Hospital Association (AHA) asked HHS to extend the October deadline.
“Now is not the time to eliminate these vital flexibilities. Hospitalizations and deaths are again on the rise given the B.A.5 variant, and there is a real possibility of additional surges in the fall and winter — along with a possibly difficult flu season,” the organization said. “Our providers also are experiencing sicker patients with more critical medical needs due to delays in seeking care during the Delta and Omicron surges.
On August 9, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) echoed the AHA, requesting that the COVID public health emergency be extended, arguing that there were new COVID variants emerging and a flu season approaching.