The End of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency


By:  Abigail Castellano

On May 11, 2023, the Biden Administration declared the end of COVID-19. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”),[1] “we are now in a better place in our response than at any point of the pandemic and well-positioned to transition out of the emergency phase.” COVID-19 deaths declined by 95% and hospitalizations by 91% as of January 2021. Additionally, more than 270 million people were vaccinated and 750 million free COVID tests were sent to upwards of 80 million U.S. households. The HHS highlights that health care systems and public health resources are more attuned to respond to COVID-19 cases in the future, public health experts have been able to provide information and educate individuals in order to protect against the spread of COVID-19, and there are more tools to respond to identify, monitor, and deter the spread of COVID-19 variants.

Although the Public Health Emergency has officially ended, there are still many people, including the immunocompromised and seniors, who will remain at a higher risk due to COVID-19. Thus, HHS states that the “response to the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, remains a public health priority.”

Important Takeaways:[2]

  • Vaccines will remain available through the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement
  • Insurance coverage of at-home tests may not continue, but the U.S. government will maintain a stockpile and distribution channels for tests remain accessible at no cost in certain community locations
  • COVID-19 treatment like Paxlovid and Lagevrio will remain available
  • National reporting of COVID-19 will likely change
  • The government response to Long COVID will not change
  • Many Medicare and Medicaid waivers and broad flexibilities for health care providers will end, but may be continued on the state level
  • Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act liability protections will likely be amended “to extend certain important protections that will continue to facilitate access to convenient and timely COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and tests for individuals.”

What This Means in Different States:

Additional Information and Sources:


[1] Fact Sheet: End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency |

[2] End of the Federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Declaration | CDC and Fact Sheet: End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency |