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Joe Biden makes 400 million N95 masks available for free
Following the ruling by the Supreme Court against vaccine mandates, US President Joe Biden and his administration are resorting to other options to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The Biden administration is set to make 400 million N95 face masks available to the public for free.
Reuters reports the Biden administration is set to make 400 million non-surgical N95 face masks from its strategic national stockpile available to the public for free, according to a White House official. The masks will be shipped to pharmacies and community health centers this week and will be made available for pickup next week.
The move to make masks free follows criticism that the Biden administration is not doing enough to further encourage wearing face masks or ramping up testing efforts as the country faces a surge of Omicron variant cases. Prior to the masks, the administration has launched a website for people to order at-home COVID-19 testing kits.
“This is the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in US history,” said the White House official.
“To ensure accessing these masks is easy and convenient, the administration is leveraging the federal retail pharmacy program and the federal community health center program so that free masks are available at many of the same convenient and trusted locations Americans go to get vaccinated and boosted,” said the official, who noted that the program would be fully operational by February.
Face masks such as the N95 type are considered especially effective at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. While the Biden administration has said that there is a lot of masks in the stockpile, some executives told the outlet that healthcare supply chains are still quite fragile and small, under-funded hospitals would be placed at risk if Americans make the N95 masks their everyday masks.
In other related news, Biden ripped into the Republicans during his news conference, suggesting that they lack a stance on anything. To note, Republicans did not draft a platform during the 2020 elections.
“Think about this: What are Republicans for?” said the US leader. “What are they for? Name me one thing they’re for.”