Foreseeing the possibility of a surge in Covid infections in the winter season, the US government has decided to keep the Covid Public Health Emergency (PHE) even after January next year. This would allow US citizens to do free testing, and get vaccine shots and allied treatments with ease.
The Public Health Emergency was started in January 2020 and it was renewed every ninety days. Recently, the US government said that it was planning to shut its operations by January.
Healthcare experts are warning of a possible increase in Covid infections in the coming months of December and January. This can lead to an increased demand for Public Health Emergency services and hence closing it in January doesn’t seem to be an intelligent decision.
Continuation Of The U.S. Covid Public Health Emergency
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had informed that they would give a 60 days notice period before ending the service. But until now, no such notice has been released and this further proves that the government has no intentions to shut down the program anytime soon.
The covid situation in the US has been on a consistent wave as new sub-variants are also showing their dominant presence and around 41,300 people are getting infected. According to CDC, the death rate is also not a good number as it’s reaching around 335 people per day.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projected that the Covid infections would rise to a whopping 70,000 in three months. This is mainly because of kids returning back to school and also people gathering indoors for different functions.
Under the PHE, the government has allowed for free vaccinations, some free tests, and certain covid treatments. The government bears the expenses for all these and in the current context, withdrawing these services would be a heavy hit on the US health sector also a lot of things have to be managed before the government can stop the PHE services.
Earlier this year, the drug makers and insurance companies held a meeting with the health officials for transferring all covid related services like sales and distribution of covid vaccines and different treatments to the private sector. But the decision hasn’t been taken forward yet as the risk of a surge in infection looms above the US.
One of the greatest challenges ahead is a transition of these services to the commercial sector and for this to happen the public sector needs to efficiently manage the protection strategies put in place. So extending the PHE time period is crucial for this process to happen without issues.
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Another main challenge is to deal with the problem of people with no insurance which comes to roughly twenty-five million. This number is set to increase further as the Medicaid program is set to expire soon and this would revert the insurance to normal rules of enrollment.
Even though uninsured kids are eligible for covid vaccines, it remains to be seen how their covid treatment expenses would be managed. Most US citizens are covered under some sort of government or private insurance and this would cover Covid vaccines.
But other forms of Covid tests and treatments might not be fully covered under the insurance and the people might end up paying some amount out of their pockets. PHE services also allow healthcare workers and hospital administration to operate more freely to provide needed care and attention.
Health experts have asked citizens to take necessary safety measures by taking the booster vaccination at the earliest and following safety precautions like wearing masks, staying indoors if sick, and washing hands regularly to prevent the new covid variant infections.
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