The White House announced on Twitter Wednesday that the Administration is “making 400 million N95 masks from the Strategic National Stockpile available for free to Americans.”
Last week, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance on masks to recommend N95 masks, “well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s offer even more protection, and well-fitting NIOSH-approved respirators (including N95s) offer the highest level of protection (CDC).” As a result of this development and the recent Omicron surge, the Biden administration announced Monday they will be sending out shipments of the 400 million N95 masks from the Strategic National Stockpile this week for free distribution at the local level.
According to NBC News:
The plan consists of working with pharmacies and community health centers to distribute the nonsurgical masks, which will come from the Strategic National Stockpile. The administration will begin shipments this week and hopes to have the program fully operational by early February, the White House official said.
Dr. Tom Inglesby, the administration’s Covid testing coordinator, said in an interview, “We know that these masks provide better protection than cloth masks.”
The N95 masks will be made available to everybody, and recipients will not be prioritized based on vulnerability to Covid, income or other criteria. Inglesby said the administration was “confident that people who want to access them will be able to access them,” but it was not immediately clear how many masks a person could receive at one time.