On Tuesday, the Biden team announced it would extend the Public Health Emergency for another 90 days beginning in mid-July and extending to mid-October. The PHE requires renewal at the short interval of 90 days because threats from such things as communicable diseases change quickly, and PHE extensions should reflect this. The Biden administration has now effectively extended this interval to 150 days, given that its announcement of the extension comes 60 days prior to the expiration of the current PHE. If the purpose of this extension were to address the rampant and historically high drug overdose deaths or soaring rates of homicide, both present in the United States today, then it might indeed be justified. But, if it applies to COVID, then the logic becomes untidy at best.
For months, Biden has been telling the American people that while we may have further COVID outbreaks, there is no need to worry, as we now have all the tools (e.g., masks, tests, therapeutics, vaccines) necessary to deal with them. Indeed, the case fatality rate as reported by recent 7-day averages has fallen below 0.3%. In other words, it’s approaching that which we observe each year during the flu season.