Biden Administration To Give Away 400 Million Masks
The Biden Administration will hand out 400 million non-surgical N95 masks from the Strategic National Stockpile to help combat the Omicron surge. Beginning next week, the masks will be available at local pharmacies and health centers, and the program should be fully running by February.
The N95 masks are among the most protective.
“Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. There’s no place for them in light of Omicron,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen told CNN Newsroom.
The CDC announced last week that they changed their suggestion to wearing “the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently.”
While children’s masks will not be available, sources report that the administration is working on acquiring those as well.
The 400 million masks make up a little over half of the masks stored in the Strategic National Stockpile and will mark “the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history,” a White House official announced.
“I know we all wish that we could finally be done with wearing masks,” President Joe Biden said during a recent speech. “I get it. But they’re a really important tool to stop the spread, especially of a highly transmittable Omicron variant.”
The mask giveaway comes the Biden Administration rolled out a free COVID Test program on Saturday. It requires private insurers to cover up to eight tests per covered individual each month. Tests can be obtained in-store, at pharmacies or online, however, insurers will be able to create a network of preferred locations where they provide full coverage. Consumers will still be able to purchase tests outside the network, but insurers will only have to cover up to a $12 cost. Consumers will be reimbursed by keeping the receipt and submitting a claim to their insurance company.
For those who are uninsured or covered by Medicare, the government said it will buy and send out 500 million home COVID tests to Americans who order a test via a government website. The website will launch on January 19, with tests expecting to ship in a week to 12 days. The tests will be mailed directly to the consumer.