REUTERS: BIDEN ADMINISTRATION EXTENDS COVID HEALTH EMERGENCY IN JANUARY–FREE VACCINATIONS WILL CONTINUE TO BE PROVIDED. NUMBERS POINT TO WINTER SURGE.

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REUTERS reported Saturday evening the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing millions of Americans to still receive free tests, vaccines and treatments, according to two administration officials.

The possibility of the private market taking over vaccine distribution at their prices prompted the decision to extend the state of emergency.

Daily U.S. cases are down to an average of nearly 41,300 as of Nov. 9. 335 people a day are still dying from COVID, according to the latest U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

On Thursday, Westchester County recorded 186 new cases of covid according to the New York Covid 19 tracker. After 5 days this last November 6 through 10, the county recorded lab-validated postive covid cases of 973, continuing to average 200 new cases a day (194) on track for a fifteenth consecutive week of 1,000 new persons testing positive a week.

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Reuters reports U.S. cases are projected to rise slowly 70,000 a day by February, from students students and indoor socializing. returning to schools and cold weather-related indoor gatherings.

Reuters outlined the looming problem of vaccines if you can pay for them in stark terms:

” ‘The biggest motivation from a policy perspective is ensuring a smooth transition to the commercial market and the challenge of unraveling the multiple protections that have been put in place,” said Dr. Jen Kates, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Extending the PHE provides more time to manage that.’

The biggest challenge is uninsured people, she said. Most Americans have government-backed or private health insurance and are expected to pay nothing for COVID vaccines and boosters, though they will likely incur some out-of-pocket costs for tests and treatments.

Uninsured children will also continue to get free vaccines, but it is unclear how they and some 25 million uninsured adults will avoid paying the full cost of tests and treatments, and how those adults will get vaccines.

Their number is set to grow with the emergency expiring. HHS estimates that as many as 15 million people will lose health coverage after a requirement by Congress that state Medicaid programs keep people continuously enrolled expires and states return to normal patterns for enrollment. “

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