February 25, 2024

After over three years and 1.1 million deaths, the U.S. is ending the public health emergency for COVID-19. Congress is working to better prepare for another potential virus outbreak. The expiration of the designation will mean changes for how vaccines, tests, and treatments are purchased and administered, although not all changes will take effect immediately. COVID-19 data will be less publicly available, as reporting requirements will be relaxed. Vaccination rates have fallen while new diagnoses and deaths continue but public health officials pledge to continue making vaccines and tests available. The CDC will lose access to information about the frequency of COVID-19 infections once the declaration ends. Congress is working to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act to prepare for future public health emergencies. Major Senators, including Mitt Romney, Bernie Sanders and Bob Casey are leading the effort. Plans are being put in place to improve the framework on the federal response to prepare for the next public health emergency. They will work to ensure the U.S. has a playbook in place and is flexible enough to address other threats besides a pandemic.

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