Dr. Anthony Fauci may be retiring, but he’s casting a long shadow. On Friday, President Joe Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services quietly re-upped the public-health emergency determination for COVID, much in the spirit of Fauci’s never-ending alarmism.

The Trump administration first declared a COVID-related public-health emergency on Jan. 31, 2020 — back when we knew almost nothing about the coronavirus. Trump HHS Secretary Alex Azar renewed it four times, and counting Friday, Biden’s HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra’s has renewed it another six times. Becerra claims “a public-health emergency exists and has existed since Jan. 27, 2020, nationwide.”

The HHS boss is merely a top power-broker in a power-hungry, nanny-state administration. Biden wants to keep exerting ever-more control over our lives. That should come as no surprise, of course, as his White House continues down the path of toxic policymaking that will harm more than it helps; negative unintended consequences are the hallmark of progressive ideology. But it’s long past time to move beyond COVID emergency declarations.

Aside from perpetuating needless worry, what Becerra’s order means in practice — as the Kaiser Family Foundation reports — is that public and private COVID health-care coverage will continue to be more expensive as taxpayers and consumers shell out billions of dollars for COVID-related treatments under emergency mandates that make these treatments “free” to patients but not to taxpayers or private employers. It will also fuel health-care inflation, while continued liability immunity for pharmacists and other vaccine providers will make medical malpractice harder to root out.

Meanwhile, the prez’s iron-fisted transportation mask mandate was rejected by courts, and businesses are removing mask and vaccine mandates. Widespread natural immunity, vaccines and the virus’ natural evolution have brought COVID risk under control. Americans are picking up the pieces of their shattered mental health and school-learning loss from perpetual COVID lockdowns.

Biden promised to restore normalcy and to defeat COVID. Instead, he’s given us eternal COVID, volatility and erratic decision-making. Doubly aggravating is the Biden White House’s utter hypocrisy as his team tries to repeal Title 42, the public-health measure put into place by the Trump administration to prevent the spread of COVID by illegal immigrants. 

Title 42 means illegal immigrants can be expelled in the name of protecting public health. A federal court ruling kept Title 42 in place because Biden failed to comply with the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. In a statement contesting that ruling, Biden’s Department of Homeland Security admitted Title 42 is a public-health order, not an immigration control measure. But despite the ongoing “emergency,” he’s pushing to lift the order.

Got that? Biden thinks COVID is still a public-health emergency if you’re a US citizen, but if you’re an illegal immigrant who might have COVID, you’re welcome to enter and infect Americans.

Americans don’t want this perpetual state of emergency. Morning Consult reported in late June that “Biden’s net approval for his handling of the coronavirus fell to its lowest level among independents (minus 24) since late December, with 33% approving and 57% disapproving.” May’s Monmouth University polling shows Americans’ concerns about serious COVID illness in their families dropped to pre-pandemic levels.   

President Ronald Reagan’s words prove more correct each day: “A government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” If alive, no doubt he’d add a COVID emergency to that.

A perhaps even more important lesson comes from Aesop’s tale about the shepherd boy who repeatedly tricks villagers into thinking a wolf is attacking the town’s flock. When an actual wolf arrives, and the boy cries out, the villagers believe it’s another false alarm. The wolf dines on the hapless flock.

COVID and other diseases should be taken seriously, especially if a more lethal COVID strain reappears. But right now the word “emergency” has lost its meaning under Biden, and that makes it hard to take him seriously.

Democrats want more power, and they’ll keep extending this emergency declaration until the American people stand up and say: “Enough!”