Missouri’s COVID-19 State of Emergency Expires After Governor Decides Against Extension

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
December 31, 2021 Updated: December 31, 2021

Missouri’s COVID-19-related state of emergency expired on Friday after Gov. Mike Parson decided against extending the designation.

Parson, a Republican, first declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19 on March 13, 2020.

The designation has been in place ever since.

Parson said he opted not to extend the state of emergency because of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Thanks to the effectiveness of the vaccine, widespread efforts to mitigate the virus, and our committed health care professionals, past needs to continue the state of emergency are no longer present,” he said in a statement.

The expiration of the state of emergency means the Missouri National Guard can no longer be activated for COVID-19-related missions, according to the governor’s office.

“We encourage all Missourians to consider COVID-19 vaccination and to stay diligent, but we can work together to fight COVID-19 while living our normal lives. It is time to take this final step and move forward as a state,” Parson said.

Vaccines since being authorized helped prevent severe illness among those who contracted COVID-19 but their effectiveness in preventing infection has dropped sharply amid the emergence of the Delta and Omicron virus strains.

The vaccines are less protective against hospitalization when comparing the effect versus Omicron and the earlier Delta variant, early data show, but are still around 70 percent effective in those who got a two-shot primary regimen or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a booster.

In Missouri, nearly 94 percent of residents 65 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, in addition to over 62 percent of all state residents.

Missouri, like most other states in the nation, has recorded an uptick in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, and a smaller increase in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

Still, Omicron is causing fewer hospitalizations and deaths than Delta, according to emerging data and real-world studies.

Both are variants of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.

Missouri Hospital Association spokesman Dave Dillon was among those critical of Parson’s decision.

“The end of a public health emergency itself is going to have absolutely no influence on how the virus spreads,” he told the Missouri Independent. “It is more incumbent that people do the right thing. We are going to have diminished capacity, initially, to care for them.”

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.