With contributions from Jeff Mason and Ahmed Aboulenein
An official in the Biden administration stated on Friday that the United States would extend the
COVID-19 pandemic designation as a public health emergency in January, enabling millions of Americans to continue receiving free testing, vaccinations, and treatments until at
least April of next year.
The official said that the decision was influenced by the potential for a wintertime increase in COVID cases and the necessity for extra time to move from the public
health emergency to the commercial market.
When the coronavirus pandemic broke out in January 2020, a state of emergency was established and has been repeated quarterly ever since
But beginning in August, official signals indicated that it intended to let it lapse in January.
If the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services didn't intend to extend the emergency in January, it would have expired on Friday, as per its obligation to provide states 60 days' notice.