COVID is Officially “Over”

COVID is Officially Over

Mackenzie Patenaude, Writer

As of May 11, 2023, the Center for Disease Control officially marked the end of the federal COVID-19 declaration.  

After years of asking when this time of abnormality and disruption would be over, it’s the end of an era for people around the world. The infamous COVID pandemic is officially “over”, as the CDC allowed its PHE declaration to expire at last.  

For months, the CDC has been working to put COVID-19 emergency response activities into its already established structure and programs, as part of a transition to sustainable public health, to prepare for the end of the PHE, and communicate updated reports.  

According to the CDC, “The United States has mobilized and sustained a historic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a nation, we now find ourselves at a different point in the pandemic – with more tools and resources than ever before to better protect ourselves and our communities”. The nation’s response is what allowed us to, three years later, finally “end” the pandemic.  

What is a PHE? 

A PHE is a Public Health Emergency Declaration, issued by the Center for Disease Control. By letting it expire, the CDC’s authorizations to collect certain types of public health data will expire along 

with it.  

As for now, COVID vaccines are unaffected and still available. Tests, on the other hand, may no longer be covered by insurance because providers are not required to wave the cost anymore with the PHE expiration. Treatment will of course, still be available to those who need it.  

While reporting frequency, sources, and data will change when PHE declaration ends, CDC will continue to report valuable information to inform about health action to protect those who are concerned, or at severe risk. As it does with any other disease or public health affair, the CDC’s priority remains to be providing necessary information to protect the world’s health. 

Nonetheless, it is very strange to see that the public’s response to this news was nearly non-existent. 

From 2019 to now, and it will likely continue to happen, people across the world have called the pandemic life-changing, using it as a reason or excuse for nearly any event that followed March 13, 2020. Despite its impact, no one seems to care about its official end date of May 11th. Does no one truly care, or is it because we have been “back to normal” for so long, with businesses back open, and no masks or social distancing required?  

Arguably, the reason the reaction to the PHE declaration ending is so microscopic is because we live in a “new normal” that is not going to change because the Public Health Declaration does. Many businesses are forever shut down, restaurants and stores close at earlier times than they use to, people permanently school and work from home, mental health struggles and suicides are at an all-time high, and the 2019-2023 years of memories and experiences are gone forever. The long-term effects of COVID are still present among us, but the pandemic feels so far away. 

Although it is a relief that the COVID-19 pandemic is officially over, the news of the PHE also reinforces the fact that life as we know it is forever changed.