The White House is making 400 million N95 masks available for free

The White House announced on Wednesday that it is making 400 million N95 masks available for free, part of a series of actions aimed at combating the growing omicron variant.

The masks will be available for collection at “tens of thousands of local pharmacies” as well as thousands of health centers, the White House said. The masks will begin shipping later this week and will begin to be available late next week before they are “fully up and running” in early February.

Making high quality masks more accessible has been one of the areas where President BidenJoe Biden, Madame Tussauds reveals new Biden and Harris figures that the US raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus. Putin is testing a model for invading Ukraine and outsmarting Biden’s diplomats MORE has been under pressure to increase efforts against the virus.

Dens. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders Shame Biden for his remarks from Atlanta – but are we surprised? Overnight Health Care – Biden faces pressure from Democrats on COVID-19 Sanders urges Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown MORE (I-Vt.) And more than 50 Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill last week, for example, to send three N95 masks to every person in the United States

Similar to action on testing, experts say the Biden administration should have acted months ago to make high-quality masks more accessible, but the new steps are still progress.

Biden only announced last week that an announcement about high-quality free masks would come this week.

The masks will be deployed from the strategic national warehouse, which currently has more than 750 million N95 masks, tripling the number in January 2021, the White House said.

Experts have intensified the call for people to wear higher quality masks like the N95s, which provide much better protection than simple fabric masks, especially in light of the highly transferable omicron variant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that N95 masks offer the highest level of protection. Experts have also recommended KN95 masks, another type of high quality mask, although consumers are warned to make sure the masks they buy are not counterfeit.

In addition to the mask announcement, a new website went to order four quick tests per. housing live Tuesday at covidtests.gov.

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