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What Can One Expect with the End of COVID-19 As Public Health Emergency?

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Emirates in coordination with Dubai Health Authority (DHA) will be introducing additional precautions. Passengers on today’s flight to Tunisia were all tested for COVID-19 before departing from Dubai. Emirates is the first airline to conduct on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers.

COVID-19 outbreak became a health emergency as soon as its onset. After three years of pain and torment caused by the virus, the good news is it’s no more a significant health concern. What does this imply for an Alaskan? How will it affect coronavirus testing, vaccination, and treatment? The Alaskan health department says that vaccination and antiviral procedures will be accessible for free in most cases in the state. But OTC COVID-19 tests will incur expenses. Even there will be some effect on how people use telehealth. Care and insurance arrangements will also likely change—those who may have forgotten may know that Coronavirus became a federal emergency in January 2020.

The situation is much better with the decline in infection and hospitalization rates in Alaska and worldwide. However, one must note that removing emergency status from the disease doesn’t indicate the virus has entirely vanished. It only means that the world has moved on from the early days of the response system. The days of social distancing, masking, and homestay orders are primarily past. When the government introduced those measures for public health safety, almost 57% of people in Alaska supported them, per a reputable survey. A state emergency is distinct from a national crisis. The COVID-19 emergency ended in the state in July.

What does the federal announcement mean?

One significant change is that health insurance companies don’t need to pay for OTC Coronavirus tests with the end of the federal emergency. During public health emergencies, public and private insurers covered the cost of eight monthly tests for one person. Since it’s not binding on them anymore to provide coverage, you can accumulate test kits and confirm with your insurer if they still pay for them. Some companies can still support it. Also, insurance companies can cover the cost when a health provider orders a test. Even free tests may still be available for a while. Then, telehealth-related expanded services may become ineffective after 90 days.

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What may remain the same?

Pre-purchased vaccines with the federal government will still be accessible for free in Alaska by 2024 end under federal programs. Pharmacies can charge a small sum for vaccine administration, while the vaccine will be free of cost. Also, vaccines and treatments for emergency use will stay. One can also get molnupiravir, paxlovid, and other antiviral medicine supplies for free until the stock lasts. Experts say stock can be available till late summer or early fall. After the inventory is empty, COVID-19 medicines will get the same type of treatment as any other standard commercial drug. Insurance companies can cover the cost.

Not being an emergency anymore doesn’t mean the virus has left entirely. You must care for your health if you cough, feel congestion, and have a runny nose. Get more sleep for recovery. People with low or weak immunity need to be more careful. And testing is still critical to get the proper treatment. Hence, even after it’s not a genuine health concern, getting tested for COVID-19 will still be relevant if you notice any symptoms. It will help curb community disease transmission and save people at higher health risks.

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