State Rep. Harry Arora: Should the public health emergency be extended to Feb 15, 2022?

Posted on September 25, 2021

Dear friends and neighbors,

The Governor has informed members of the General Assembly of his intention to renew declarations of public health and civil preparedness emergencies through Feb. 15th, 2022. He has convened a special session of General Assembly on Sep. 27th to approve this renewal. Would you please take a three-question survey by clicking HERE to provide your input on this issue.

The rate of COVID vaccination in CT is amongst the highest in the country. Over 95% of residents over age 65 are vaccinated. Over 80% of all residents over age 12 have taken at least one dose. HERE is a table with vaccination rates by age. As a result of the high vaccination rate, the hospitalization/mortality from the delta surge has been a fraction of those from earlier waves of COVID, even though the delta variant is much more contagious. You can see that data HERE. Fortunately, data HERE also shows that COVID least impacts those under age 12. While cases amongst that age group are now similar to the older demographic, hospitalizations and mortality are about one-thousandth. CDC data compiled by an independent journalist HERE shows that the flu is more harmful to that demographic than COVID.

When the Governor first declared the public health emergency in March 2020, there was no science available on this virus, no vaccines or therapies, and no PPE was available. Hence declaring a public health emergency and giving special powers to the executive branch could be justified. Today we are in an entirely different situation. Therefore, I do not find the request for an extension of the state of emergency for another five months justifiable. It is my belief that now is the time to transition our COVID response from a pandemic to a manageable infectious disease.

The Governor has pointed out that he intends to use this emergency declaration to continue a few executive orders focused on mask mandates and vaccine mandates. These issues need to be debated and voted on the floor of the General Assembly, just like any other matter. There is no reason why our legislature should not discuss and decide on those issues.

Please click HERE to provide your input. Your input is essential to our discussion and vote on Monday.