by Bobby Jindal & Heidi Overton
“When will the emergency end?” Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked during the Supreme Court’s recent vaccine mandates hearing.
The nation is asking the same question.
This is a pivotal moment in the two-year pandemic. Omicron has created record-high daily cases, but severe outcomes are fewer, ushering in a new phase — the likely transition to endemic status. Emergency order expiration dates are looming. Unless renewed, the public health emergency order should end on Sunday, and the national emergency declaration expires on March 1. Policymakers need to relinquish emergency powers at the end of the surge and plot a sustainable path forward.
Dr. Monica Gandhi, a University of California, San Francisco infectious disease expert, predicted months ago that COVID-19 would become endemic, perhaps like the flu, always circulating with seasonal peaks. She outlined that the transition would occur when the disease severity decreased and the immunity from vaccines and prior infections increased…