Covid Updates: Official End Is in Sight
By February 21, 2023 0 536•
Slowly but surely, things are getting back to normal around the country. Locally, George Washington University is planning on dropping its mask mandate, public libraries will no longer provide Covid tests and the national and public health emergencies have set a definitive end date.
GWU Drops Mask Mandate
Call it a sign of the times: with only a daily average of 64 new Covid cases as of last week, George Washington University’s classroom mask mandate will end Feb. 27. Before it made the announcement, the school was the only large, urban university in the country that still enforced a mask mandate (according to a GW Hatchet analysis of nearly 230 universities).
The school’s press release asked students to remain respectful to those who wish to still mask up for any variety of reasons. There will still be face coverings required in university-operated healthcare buildings like the Student Health Center. Community members will need to wear a mask for 10 days after a positive Covid test.
D.C. Ends Covid Testing Distribution at Public Libraries
The District is also ending free Covid test distribution at local libraries. Beginning Feb. 28, rapid test kits and at-home PCR tests will not be available at public libraries in the city. D.C. Health cited low Covid case counts and the “increased availability of vaccine opportunities.” Eight Covid centers for each ward will stay open.
The library program was given high praise as it served its purpose with efficiency and convenience for local residents.
Biden to End Covid National and Public Health Emergencies
Changes to Covid procedures are happening on a national level as well. President Joe Biden is planning on ending the Covid-19 national and public health emergencies on May 11. This decision means that Americans could have to start paying for Covid testing and treatments after the declaration ends this spring.
The White House opposed House Republican measures to abruptly end the emergencies, opting to extend them one last time until the current May 11 deadline. In a statement, The White House said that the information would provide 60 days’ notice to terminate the public health emergency.
The public health emergency has abled government to give Americans Covid-19 tests, vaccines and treatments at no cost. With the change in May, people will have to start preparing to pay for things like vaccines and testing that they didn’t have to pay for during the emergency.