By Kevin Deutsch
The Biden administration will begin distributing 400 million free N95 masks to Americans starting next week—the largest government mask distribution effort thus far, the White House announced Wednesday.
With the omicron variant sending COVID-19 infections to record levels across the U.S., federal officials encourage Americans to wear N95 masks rather than cloth face coverings. Research shows N95 and KN95 masks, when properly fitted, are more effective than cloth masks in preventing transmission of the virus.
The N95 masks will be released from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile, which contains more than 750 million of them, according to the White House.
Officials said that Americans would be able to pick up the masks at no cost at local pharmacies and community health centers.
According to the White House, shipments of the masks will begin late next week. Three masks will be available for each person, officials said.
On Tuesday, the White House launched a website where Americans can order four free rapid COVID tests kits to be sent directly to their homes.
Tests will typically ship within 7 to 12 days of ordering, officials said.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.