US government to distribute 400 million Covid N95 masks for free

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Jan 19, 2022, 05:08 PM IST
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Distribution of free N95 masks in the USA will start as soon as next week and is expected to kick into full gear by February

US President Joe Biden's administration said on Wednesday that it will be distributing 400 million high quality Covid N95 masks for free to Americans . The step will be taken in order to rein in the coronavirus pandemic. The masks will be made available next week.

Tens of thousands of distribution points will be set up nationwide in order to give away masks. Pharmacies and community centres are expected to be main distribution centres. The White House said that the distribution drive will kick into full gear in February.

"This is the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in US history," an unnamed White House official said in a statement.

The US is currently facing a surge of Covid cases due to Omicron variant of coronavirus. Other than the initiative to distribute masks, the White House is also focussing on expanding Covid-19 testing.

On Tuesday it launched a website where each American household can order free tests, to be performed at home.

The government aims to distribute one billion rapid tests in the United States, the country whose Covid-19 death toll of 853,000 is the world's highest.

US also has a problem of anti-vaxxers, those who have raised questions about side effects of Covid vaccines. More often, these doubts have been based on unscientific into propagated by individuals online. There is a strong public opinion in the US that vaccination must not be compulsory.

(With inputs from agencies)