The United States of America’s Health department seems to be in a rush hour to respond against the effects of covid-19, especially regarding the public’s well-being during the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. Once again, the self-proclaimed ‘greatest nation’ is making severe strides in ensuring that the healthcare department well covers the citizens.
The US Department of Health and Human Services officials admitted that the country is under threat from the deadly covid-19 effects, which might cause more deaths in the country. The raging nature of the Delta variant has caused many deaths, and some countries have already reported the arrival of the Lambda variant. Hence the world still has a long way to go in fighting this pandemic.
Xavier Becerra, the US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, renewed the public health emergency declaration because of the covid-19 pandemic. In the renewal of the determination, the secretary outlined how the covid-19 consequences influenced him. He made the informed decision after consulting with other public health officials. The decision was made on Monday 21 July and enacted to be starting this week. This form of emergency has been in existence since 27 January 2020 and was previously renewed by former secretary Alex M. Azar II in 2020 on April 21, July 23, October 2, and 7 January 2021. Secretary Becerra renewed it on 15 April 2021 [Source].
The April renewal was set to expire after being active for 90 days. This recent renewal by Becerra came into effect on Tuesday and will run for 90 days before being eligible for another renewal. A public health emergency of this magnitude can have a duration that lasts till the end of the crisis at hand or for 90 days, but the secretary has the power to extend if he or she deems fit to do so. Before the declaration of such an emergency, it is mandated that the FBI, Homeland Security, and Department of Justice are informed within 48 hours of the declaration [Source]. Then it is mandated that the determination can only be active for 90 days, then it is up for renewal.
After making this declaration, the secretary is allowed under Section 319 of the Public Health Service to employ any organization that can help fight against a crisis and access funds to be injected into all procedures of dealing with a health challenge. The secretary is also permitted to use authorized vaccines regarded as safe by the health fraternity and deploy military trauma care providers to lend a hand amid the health crisis.
Last month, Lori Tremmel Freeman, a chief executive officer of City and Country Health Officials, cited how the government was willing to extend the determination for the rest of the year. In explaining the vital need of the public health emergency, he contended that “There are a lot of things tied to that public health emergency order, including it helps states and local jurisdictions with the pandemic response, but it can be impactful to other forms of assistance like Medicaid eligibility coverage provisions that were changed under the declaration of a public health emergency order.” According to Mr. Freeman, “If an emergency order is lifted, some people could no longer be eligible for some of the health-related coverages that they had gotten under the emergency” [Source].
This shows how beneficial the declaration is to all the citizens, especially those who do not have sufficient healthcare cover and rely on government programs. Given the costs incurred by people in trying to secure health services during this pandemic, it becomes necessary for this declaration to remain in action so that individuals are not drained financially, especially by private healthcare providers.
With covid-19 continuing to rain more terror on the masses, the public health emergency declaration will be maintained until the year ends. Thus the US government under the Biden administration is making considerable efforts to fulfill its duties of protecting the public against a world crisis.