President Joe Biden is taking a step forward when it comes to protecting Americans against COVID-19.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, one accessory needed by every person around the world is a mask. Not Halloween/costume masks, doctor-like masks.
According to ABC News, President Joe Biden plans to make 400 million N95 masks available for free to U.S. residents beginning next week.
Thankfully, federal officials are focusing on better protection against the omicron variant of COVID-19 over cloth face coverings.
According to The White House, the masks will come from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile. The national repository contains over 750 million highly protective masks on hand. The masks will be available for pickup at pharmacies and community health centers across the U.S for distribution. This starts next week.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, this will be the largest distribution of free masks by the federal government. In early 2020, the Trump administration considered, but stopped plans to send masks to people at their homes. After criticism of this month’s oversupply and cost of N95 masks, President Joe Biden decided to go through with the distribution.
After also facing criticism over the winter shortage of COVID-19 at-home test kits, Biden started a website for Americans to order four quick tests to be shipped to their homes for free. The first tests will ship later this month.
According to The White House, these masks will be available to pharmacies and community health centers partnered. These centers have also partnered with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
According to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, 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.”
More On the Biden Administration’s Mask Distribution
However, details were not yet available on the specifics of the news. This includes the types of masks to be given out, whether kid-size masks will be available, and whether or not the masks will be reusable.
Furthermore, The White House claimed that “to ensure broad access for all Americans, there will be three masks available per person.”
N95 masks are more available now than during any other time in the pandemic. However, they are often more expensive than surgical or cloth masks.
Biden Administration Announces Plan to Combat Wildfires
On January 18th, the Biden Administration announced a 10-year strategy that is working to minimize the harm caused by wildfires. The administration wants to use some of the money from the bipartisan infrastructure for the strategy.
According to the Associated Press, the Biden Administration claims that the strategy will use intentional “prescribed “ fires to assist main forest health. It is also going to invest in assisting communities to adapt to fires. This also includes investments in addressing post-fire risks, recovery, and reforestation.
Tom Vilsack, Biden’s administration’s Agriculture Secretary, discussed strategy with the media. “You’re going to have forest fires. The question is how catastrophic do those fires have to be. The time to act is now if we want to ultimately over time change the trajectory of these fires.”