The Trump administration says it has renewed the COVID-19 national public health emergency declaration just before it was set to expire on July 25.
The renewal comes amid mounting pressure from health experts and essential personnel who say "the best thing for the nation is not to reopen as quickly as possible."
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the renewal on Twitter Thursday writing, "Today I signed a renewal of the COVID-19 national public health emergency declaration. The Administration will continue its whole-of-America response to ensure Americans can get the care they need throughout the pandemic."
Prior to the signing of the renewal Thursday, more than 150 prominent medical experts, scientists, teachers, and health officials signed a letter calling for the administration to limit non-essential businesses and to make masks mandatory.
The letter states, "We need that protocol in place until case numbers recede to a level at which we have the capacity to effectively test and trace. Then, and only then, we can try a little more opening, one small step at a time."
The renewal of the public health emergency comes as the U.S. exceeds more than 4 million confirmed cases of the virus and as the White House tells roughly a dozen major cities to take "aggressive" action against the coronavirus amid rising positivity rates.
Contains footage from CNN.