The White House will disband the COVID team
The White House is reportedly preparing to disband its COVID-19 team as Joe Biden’s administration prepares to end the national and public health emergencies of the coronavirus on May 11.
Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, will likely step down once the emergency is officially over, when many of his team members have already left.
The news was first reported by the Washington Post.
“Because of this administration’s historic response to COVID-19, we as a nation are in a safer and better place than we were three years ago,” a senior administration official told the Post. . “COVID is no longer disrupting our lives thanks to investments and our efforts to mitigate its worst impacts.
The official added that while Americans will still have to deal with COVID-19, moving out of the emergency phase of the response is the next step in the country’s fight against the virus.
The emergency declaration was first put in place by then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on January 31, 2020, while President Donald Trump was in office.
Biden has since extended the emergency but announced earlier this year that it would expire in May.
Jha told WBUR last week that this signals the country is in a “different and better place with COVID.”
“It means that the emergency tools we needed to deal with this virus are no longer needed in the same way,” he said.
It also means some Americans will have to start paying for tests and antiviral drugs, though COVID-19 shots will remain free for the majority of the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded a weekly total of 149,955 COVID-19 cases and just over 1,700 weekly COVID-related deaths as of Wednesday.