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Declarations and relaxed restrictions aside, for millions of Americans, COVID remains a major concern.
Who are they? The many who are immunocompromised, have chronic illnesses, or struggle with long-term COVID.
- Last week, the public health emergency first declared by federal health officials in January 2020 endedcausing a series of changes in resources and in the government response.
- The federal government will stop buying tests and treatments to be administered for free, and will now be covered by health insurance.
- The Centers for Disease Control will stop tracking some COVID data, but will continue genetic analysis of variants and monitor hospitalizations and deaths.
What is the problem? For those who are most at risk from COVID, the end of the public health emergency does not mean they can let down their guard against the coronavirus.
- Vivian Chung, a pediatrician and research scientist from Bethesda, Maryland, is immunocompromised and could face serious health complications if she were to contract COVID.
- She spoke to NPR about how she’s still forced to take precautions many have left behind, like avoiding long flights and indoor dining, and how she still wears a mask in public.
- “I have people coming up to me on the street and saying, ‘Oh, don’t you know that COVID is over?'”
- About 7 million people in the US are immunocompromised. Nearly 7 million worldwide have died of COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization.
Want more information about policy changes? Listen to consider this explore what comes after the Biden administration ends title 42.
What people say?
He White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha spoke with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly last week. and said that “a country cannot be in emergency mode forever.” But he also stressed that there were still risks.
It’s still a real problem. I mean, people often ask me, you know, is this now like the flu? And I say, no, it’s like COVID. It is a different virus. The flu has a very specific seasonality. That’s not what we see yet with COVID. Even at 150 deaths a day, which is way below what it was, even if it’s the new standard today, that’s 50,000 deaths a year. I think that should be unacceptable to us. So I see COVID as a continuing threat, a real challenge to the health and well-being of the American people. And, you know, we know how to beat this thing, but we have to keep pushing. And we have to develop better vaccines and better treatments to make sure that we are more and more effective over time.
long distance COVID Semhar Fisseha, 41, told NPR about her experience..
Now there is something like a stop button. Like, OK, we’re done with this public health emergency. But there are thousands of people who are still dealing with the impact of this.
Many of the long-distance ones were light – they made it home, so they won’t be caught. New long distance vessels will not be caught (in tracking data).
And now that?
- Both Fisseha and Chung acknowledge advances in accessibility in the wake of the pandemic: the normalization of telehealth appointments; working from home; and immunizations obtaining health coverage. But both feel there is still a lot to do.
- Chung on those developments: “As a disability community, we’re still being marginalized. But I think as that margin widens, in some ways, there’s more acceptance.”