Covid-19. It fundamentally changed our lives when it’s spiky-proteins began to find their way into our bodies a little over three years ago. Work has changed for many. Life goals and priorities have changed. The world stood silent for a time, as much of the world entered a shutdown. For a time, how we lived our lives fundamentally changed, from schooling to how we interacted with friends and family. And, of course, we cannot forget the horrible toll it has wreaked on the global population. Yet, I cannot help marvel at how ready we are shirk off all of those changes. Today, the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency will officially end in the US and with it, many things we had become used to having. So as I lay here on my couch writing this post, hacking my lungs out because I have Covid again, it’s important to remember what we’re losing.
The program to provide free Covid tests via the Federal government will likely stop at the end of the month. Up until now, people could go to covidtests.gov to secure tests for themselves. Granted, a lot of people (myself very much included) stopped regularly testing as more and more restrictions were lifted. This was a bright spot. These tests run up to $25 over the counter at your average Walgreen’s or CVS. The government is encouraging employer-sponsored health insurance and private insurance providers to continue covering Covid tests without our-of-pocket costs, but uh, that word “encouraging” is troubling. Free tests through Medicare will also come to an end, though Medicaid will continue to provide at-home and PCR tests through September 2024.
The prescription of controlled substances like Adderall or Xanax via telehealth will continue until November 2023. At the outbreak, the DEA relaxed restrictions on substances like this precisely because people would be having issues with getting access with the shutdown. But now, with in-person visits suddenly viable again we have to go back to the way things were? Sure. Doctors who establish relationships on or prior to that end date will be able to continue to prescribe these medications for an additional year.
Communities will no longer be required to report Covid test results to the CDC. This means that there will no longer be weekly infections, transmission and community-level numbers being tracked by the CDC Covid Tracker. the CDC will instead focus on severe Covid illness at hospitals, deaths and emergency room visits. The CDC will also continue to analyze wastewater and the tests of international travelers to track the virus’ evolution.
The end of the emergency will also technically mean the end of Title 42. The obscure public health order put in place by the Trump administration to more easily expel immigrants. However, though 42 did more promptly kick immigrants out, there were almost legal consequences for multiple attempts. The US will revert to Title 8, which Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stressed has more severe consequences for migrants entering the country with out a legal basis.
So here we are, free Covid tests won’t be a thing without insurance, it will be harder to get a prescription for medication like Adderall or Xanax, we’re not really tracking community spread in the same way anymore, and migrants could actually be hit worse for trying to cross the border. And Covid’s still out there. It just won’t command our attention anymore. It just becomes one more thing we have to deal with as a society. We become numb to it. Like so many other things we don’t have the time or patience for.
Welcome to Thursday! Please be excellent to each other in the comments. The Mayor McSquirrel Rule remains in effect.
Something to keep in mind! Police are using digital data to prosecute abortion seekers, and Facebook and Google are helping them! Even if they are not legally required to do so, the tech giants will aid them in this since it’s technically *against the law*. Please be careful when looking for abortion providers or helping someone who is looking for that assistance.
The Covid-19 pandemic continues even if the emergencies end, continue to vaccinate using the latest version of the FDA approved vaccines by Phizer, Moderna, or Johnson and Johnson. Even if you are vaccinated, please continue to maintain social distancing measures, wear masks in public areas in accordance with CDC guidelines in regard to your own vaccination status. EVEN VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS CAN STILL GET IT AND SPREAD IT.