CDC issues new eviction moratorium set to expire in October

Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaks during a Senate hearing.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaks during a Senate hearing. Photo credit Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director signed an eviction moratorium Tuesday to keep people in their homes as the Delta variant rages through the U.S.

The order, signed by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said evicting tenants because of rental nonpayment “could be detrimental to public health control measures to slow the spread of … the virus that causes COVID-19.”

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The order expires October 3, 2021, and covers all counties across the country with substantial or high levels of community transmission.

The moratorium also gives local governments more time to dispense rent relief. The federal government has allocated more than $46 billion in aid for renters, but only about $3 billion of that money has been spent to help families so far. Each state runs its distribution program.

The CDC’s eviction moratorium expired July 31. However, Democrats pushed for Congress to extend it after the Supreme Court ruled only lawmakers had the authority to do so.

Foreseeing a potential legal battle, President Joe Biden said he’s unsure whether the moratorium will “pass constitutional muster.” Still, he expects it to give states more time to dole out rent relief.

Roughly 11.4 million U.S. adults are behind on rent. The pandemic disproportionately impacted Black and Latino communities.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) camped outside the Capitol for five days, calling Congress to act instead of vacation. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Bush was “absolutely pivotal” in getting the moratorium extended.

“Today, our movement moved mountains,” Bush tweeted.

A study published last week in the American Journal of Epidemiology found evictions in 2020 accounted for more than 430,000 infections and nearly 11,000 deaths.

“Evictions may have accelerated COVID-19 transmission by decreasing individuals’ ability to socially distance,” said the study’s lead author, concluding the data supports the public-health rationale for eviction prevention.

The order from the CDC said the eviction moratorium would “be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease.”

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