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Starting next year, the federal government and the state of Colorado plan to play much smaller roles in managing COVID-19, raising questions about who’s going to keep people from falling through the health care system’s cracks.

For more than two years, vaccines, testing and some COVID-19 treatments were free to everyone, regardless of whether they had insurance. And while there still were big disparities between urban and rural populations and between white Coloradans and people of color, the state put resources it doesn’t have for most diseases into reaching populations that struggle to get care.

Both the state and federal governments have scaled back their part in testing since the end of last winter’s omicron wave, and White House officials have said the current booster campaign will be the last one featuring doses purchased with taxpayer funds and available to everyone for free.

In a “60 Minutes” interview last weekend, President Joe Biden declared the pandemic over — a statement that has no legal force, but may be a sign that he plans to further curtail the federal government’s role. The message is mixed, though, coming less than a month after his administration asked Congress for $22 billion for vaccines, tests and COVID-19 research.

It would be more accurate to say the societal response to the pandemic is largely over, said Dr. Michelle Barron, senior director of infection control at UCHealth.

While fewer people are getting seriously sick or dying than were last year, COVID-19 hasn’t fallen into a seasonal pattern, and it’s still not clear why some people are hit so much harder than others, she said. Long COVID also remains mysterious, despite efforts to figure out why some people aren’t recovering and what could help them.

— Full story via Meg Wingerter, The Denver Post 

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See more great photos like this on The Denver Post’s Instagram account.

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