Biden administration extends COVID public health emergency

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. brace / breɪs  / (v.) – to prepare physically or mentally for an unpleasant event

    We are bracing ourselves for an upcoming storm.

  2. spike / spaɪk / (n.) – a sudden increase in numbers

    The new ad featuring the country’s most popular actor led to a spike in sales.

  3. the forefront / ðəˈfɔrˌfrʌnt / (n.) – the most important or most noticeable position

    Safety should always be at the forefront of construction projects.

  4. telehealth / ˈtɛl əˌhɛlθ / (n.) – health care service that can be done through phone or video calls

    Telehealth consultations were widely used during the lockdown because people can’t go outside.

  5. alongside / əˈlɔŋˈsaɪd / (adv.) – together with

    The medicine should be taken alongside a full meal.


Read the text below.

The Biden administration said that the COVID-19 public health emergency will continue through Jan. 11 as officials brace for a spike in cases this winter.

The decision comes as the pandemic has faded from the forefront of many people’s minds. Daily deaths and infections are dropping and people — many of them maskless — are returning to schools, work and grocery stores as normal.

The public health emergency, first declared in January 2020 and renewed every 90 days since, has dramatically changed how health services are delivered.

The declaration enabled the emergency authorization of COVID vaccines, testing and treatments for free. It expanded Medicaid coverage to millions of people, many of whom will risk losing that coverage once the emergency ends. It temporarily opened up telehealth access for Medicare recipients, enabling doctors to collect the same rates for those visits and encouraging health networks to adopt telehealth technology.

Since the beginning of this year, Republicans have pressed the administration to end the public health emergency. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has urged Congress to provide billions more in aid to pay for COVID-19 vaccines and testing. The federal government ceased sending free COVID-19 tests in the mail in September, saying it had run out of money.

Public health officials are urging people age 5 and older to get an updated COVID-19 booster alongside a flu vaccine this fall before a predicted winter coronavirus surge and a nasty flu season. As of the first weekend of October, about 13 million people had gotten the updated booster, which targets the omicron variant, according to White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha.

The administration has said it would provide 60 days’ notice before it ends the public health emergency.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The declaration authorized many things like free vaccines, testing, and treatments. It also opened medical insurance coverage for other people. Do you think things like these should be free even without a public health emergency? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • If your government declares a public health emergency, what kind of services would you like to be free or have more access to (ex. laboratory tests, medicine)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • In the U.S., daily deaths and infections are dropping and people are returning to schools, work, and grocery stores as normal. What is the current COVID-19 situation in your country? How does that make you feel? Discuss.
  • How do you think life would look after COVID-19? Discuss.