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Joe Biden extends Covid-19 public health emergency

Washington, Jan 11 (Prensa Latina) The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Wednesday officially renewed the ongoing public health emergency for the Covid-19 pandemic amid concerns over a more transmissible viral mutation and broad pandemic fatigue.

The announcement by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra marks the 12th renewal of the Covid-19 public health emergency, which was first declared in the country in January 2020.

When the public health emergency declaration was last renewed, health officials were deeply concerned that another winter surge in cases could occur.

This renewal comes as a more transmissible Covid-19 omicron subvariant makes its way across the Northeast.

XBB.1.5, which accounts for over 70% of cases in the Northeast and about 28% nationwide, is believed to be the most transmissible subvariant of omicron to have been detected so far, though whether it causes more severe illness than previous subvariants is yet to be determined.

Health officials urged Americans to get the updated vaccine to protect from the Omicron strain. “Our message is simple: Do not wait. Get an updated Covid-19 vaccine this winter. It’s safe and effective,” the spokesperson added.

An end to the Covid-19 public health emergency would signal a major shift for Joe Biden’s administration, which is currently working under the declaration since day one, The Hill noted.