The Joe Biden administration will begin making 400 million N95 masks accessible for free to U.S. residents next week, citing their superior protection against the omicron version of COVID-19 over cloth face covers.
The masks will come from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of the highly protective masks on standby, according to the White House on Wednesday.
The masks will be available at pharmacies and community health centers around the country for pick-up. According to the White House, they will begin shipping this week for distribution beginning late next week.
This will be the greatest delivery of free masks to the public by the federal government since the COVID-19 outbreak began. In early 2020, then-President Donald Trump’s government discussed, then abandoned, plans to deliver masks to people’s homes.
President Joe Biden supported the endeavor after being chastised earlier this month for the scarcity — both in terms of availability and expense — of N95 masks as the highly transmissible omicron variety swept throughout the country.
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