US President Joe Biden holds up a KN95 masks as he delivers an replace on his Administrations whole-of-government COVID-19 surge response on the White Home in Washington, DC, on January 13, 2022.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Photographs
President Joe Biden on Thursday mentioned the U.S. will give high-quality masks to People free of charge, as new infections from the Covid-19 omicron variant soar throughout the nation.
Biden mentioned the U.S. has greater than tripled the nationwide stockpile of extremely protecting N95 masks to verify they’re broadly accessible to most people. He mentioned masks are a vital instrument to assist management the unfold of omicron.
“I do know that for some People, the masks is just not all the time inexpensive or handy to get,” Biden mentioned in addressing the nation from the White Home. “Subsequent week we’ll announce how we’re making high-quality masks accessible to the American individuals free of charge.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reintroduced legislation on Wednesday to distribute free N95 masks to each particular person within the U.S. free of charge. All people would obtain a bundle with three extremely protecting masks. Sanders’ laws has 50 Democratic co-sponsors within the Home and Senate.
“As we face the quickly spreading omicron variant, we should always keep in mind that not all face masks are created equal,” Sanders mentioned in an announcement. “Congress should demand the mass manufacturing and distribution of N95 masks, probably the most efficient methods to cease the unfold of the Covid virus.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky on Wednesday mentioned the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention would quickly replace its masking steering to tell People concerning the totally different ranges of safety totally different masks present. Nevertheless, Walensky mentioned the CDC recommends that any masks is best than no masks.
“We do encourage all People to put on a well-fitting masks to guard themselves and stop the unfold of Covid-19, and that advice is just not going to alter,” the CDC director mentioned throughout a White Home Covid replace.
The CDC recommends that everybody, no matter vaccination standing, put on masks in indoors public areas in areas with substantial or excessive virus transmission. Proper now, nearly each county within the U.S. has excessive transmission of the virus, in line with the company. Omicron presently represents 98% of all sequenced Covid circumstances within the U.S., in line with the CDC.
Researchers in Australia discovered that material masks are least 50% efficient at filtering virus particles, whereas N95 and surgical masks are about 99% efficient. The study was published within the peer-reviewed journal Pathogens in September 2020.