Biden extends COVID-19 national emergency

President Joe Biden has decided to extend the designation of COVID-19 as a national emergency.

The national emergency was first declared March 13, 2020, and was set to expire on March 1, 2022, had President Biden not chosen to extend it. In a Feb. 18 letter to Congress, he wrote that the national emergency declaration will now continue past March 1. 

"There remains a need to continue this national emergency. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant risk to the public health and safety of the nation," read the letter. "More than 900,000 people in this nation have perished from the disease, and it is essential to continue to combat and respond to COVID-19 with the full capacity and capability of the federal government."

This decision comes after 70 House Republicans penned a letter urging President Biden and HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to end HHS' public health emergency declaration, set to expire April 14, citing access to vaccines and treatments as well as mental health effects of isolation as reasons. Other nations have begun transitioning out of some pandemic restrictions, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ending all COVID-19 restrictions Feb. 21, CBS News reported. 

The national emergency designation affords the government certain powers, freeing it from some legal bureaucracies and allowing it to spend additional funds.


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