Workers produce N95 respirators at Protective Health Gear (PHG) in Paterson, New Jersey, USA, January 14, 2022.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
President Joe Biden will make 400 million highly protective N95 masks available to Americans free of charge at pharmacies and health centers around the United States, a White House official said.
The masks will start being available by the end of next week, and the program will be fully up and running in early February, according to the official. The White House said the free masks are the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an updated guide published last week that N95 respirators are more effective at preventing the transmission of the virus than cloths and surgical masks. CDC Director Dr. However, Rochelle Walensky has said that it is better to wear any mask than no mask.
The CDC said N95 masks must form a seal on the face to function properly, warning that holes can let airborne droplets carry virus particles in and out of the mask. The CDC provided a fact sheet to demonstrate how N95s should be worn.
The CDC recommends that anyone 2 years of age or older wear masks in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status in areas with significant or high levels of virus transmission. Right now, virtually every county in the United States has the virus, according to the agency.
People are required by federal law to wear masks on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation.
Democrats in Congress have pressured the Biden administration to provide N95 masks to Americans for free, as the highly contagious omicron Covid variant has swept across the country, causing unprecedented levels of infection. Late. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Reintroduced legislation last week to supply three N95 masks to every person in the United States. The legislation has 50 co-sponsors in Parliament and the Senate.
“Congress must demand mass production and distribution of N95 masks, one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the Covid virus,” Sanders said in a statement.
Researchers in Australia found that drug masks are at least 50% effective at filtering virus particles, while N95 and surgical masks are about 99% effective. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Patogens in September 2020.
The Biden administration also distributes free Covid tests at home to U.S. households. Each home can order four Covid tests at www.covidtests.gov.