White House Plans to Distribute 25M Masks

They will be handed out at health centers, food banks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 24, 2021 3:17 PM CST
White House Plans to Distribute 25M Masks
A solitary runner passes under flags hanging at half-staff surrounding the Washington Monument at daybreak, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. Biden ordered the flags to be lowered in honor of the 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19 in the US..   (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

President Biden plans to distribute millions of face masks to Americans in communities hard-hit by the coronavirus. It’s part of his effort to ensure equity in the government’s response to the pandemic, the AP reports. Biden is aiming to reach underserved communities and those bearing the brunt of the outbreak. His plan will distribute masks not through the mail, but through Federally Qualified Community Health Centers and the nation’s food bank and food pantry systems. The White House says it expects more than 25 million American-made cloth masks in both adult and kid sizes will be distributed. Biden has asked everyone to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his term. He’s also required mask-wearing in federal buildings and on public transportation.

The White House says the masks will be "no cost, high-quality, washable, and consistent with the mask guidance from the CDC," CNN reports. "All of these masks will be made in America, and will not impact availability of masks for health care workers." Jeff Zients, the administration's COVID-19 response coordinator, said the move would cost an estimated $86 million. "With this action, we are helping to level the playing field, giving vulnerable populations quality, well-fitting masks," he said. (More President Biden stories.)

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