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Expand chart
Data: National Academy for State Health Policy and various governor declarations; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Soon, more than half the states will have ended their formal emergency declarations for the pandemic — which could have ripple effects across the economy.

Why it matters: Lifting those orders will allow businesses to serve more customers, but will also end certain safety nets, including expanded food and housing assistance, as well as eviction protections.

"The impacts of the crisis are really lingering," Wesley Tharpe, the deputy director of state policy research at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told Axios. "The country is still down more than 8 million fewer jobs before COVID-19 arrived ... there’s still that need to help people find a job and get back on their feet."

  • In Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly said Friday about 63,000 households are at risk of food insecurity after the state legislature voted to end its emergency declaration. Under the declaration, families received an extra $232 a month.
  • Several states have already ended COVID unemployment expansions, even though the American Rescue Plan extended state unemployment benefits through Labor Day.

What we're watching: Hospital industry officials in several states said they were still waiting to hear from their respective health departments what may change with the lifting of formal emergencies.

  • In Michigan, hospital association officials said the end of statewide emergency and disaster declarations could result in the end of licensing flexibilities.
  • In Massachusetts, hospitals are pushing the legislature to expand telehealth coverage that is on track to expire.
  • In Maryland, telehealth coverage is also a concern. Specifically, there's a question of whether coverage allowed under the state emergency will continue for ERISA plans, said Gene Ransom, CEO of MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society.

What we're watching: If variants or other factors begin to overwhelm communities and hospitals with cases in the fall, reinstating emergency orders and restrictions could erode public trust in politicians and public health capabilities, Georges Benjamin, a medical doctor and executive director of the American Public Health Association, tells Axios.

  • "At all levels of government and even in the private sector, we need to be thinking thoughtfully of how to make this transition and not just do it," he said. "We transition in an organized manner back to the society that we had two years ago than simply deciding we’re going to end these rules."

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.

Sep 25, 2021 - Health

Federal judge upholds Cincinnati health care system's COVID vaccine mandate

Photo: Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Friday that a health care provider serving the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati region can issue mandates requiring its more than 10,000 employees to get vaccinated or risk termination.

Why it matters: It's the latest ruling to uphold U.S. private employers' right to issue vaccine mandates, and comes after President Biden signed an executive order requiring vaccinations or once-a-week testing for companies with more than 100 employees.