This comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced its preference for N95 masks over cloth ones, saying they provide more protection.
Studies have shown masks to have varying levels of effectiveness both as protection to the wearer, and as a source control—stopping infected individuals from spreading the virus.
Studies have shown cloth masks to be much less effective than the N95s and KN95s.
The best mask “is the one that you will wear and the one you can keep on all day long, that you can tolerate in public indoor settings,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last week.
The new free masks will come from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile, which totals more than 750 million masks. The masks will be shipped out this week for distribution at pharmacies and community health centers starting late next week, the White House said.
President Joe Biden first announced the plan in a speech last week.
“So, next week we’ll announce—we’ll announce how we are making high-quality masks available to American people—the American people for free,” Biden said.
The White House said that “to ensure broad access for all Americans, there will be three masks available per person.”
The CDC recommends “limited reuse” of N95 masks for healthcare workers.
Details as to what kind of masks the government will be providing were not immediately clear.
Between April and September of last year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) distributed 5.1 million adult and 7.4 million children’s sized washable cloth masks to health centers.
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that N95 respirators are not designed for children or people with facial hair.
The CDC counts more than 66 million new COVID-19 cases and 850,000 new deaths nationally over the past 30 days as the more contagious but seemingly less deadly Omicron variant continues its surge.
The Biden administration also launched a new website Wednesday for Americans to order COVID test kits and have them shipped to their home for free.
From The Epoch Times