Biden Administration Considering Plan to Send Face Masks to Every U.S. Household
President Biden’s COVID-19 Response Team is working on the logistics of sending millions of face masks to U.S. citizens.
The plan is still in the early stages, and it hasn’t gotten to the president’s desk for approval yet. But some of the administration’s top health experts have been discussing its viability in meetings lately, according to NBC News.
The widespread use of face masks to limit the spread of COVID-19 has been a keystone of Biden’s campaign and his eventual actions as president. Biden signed multiple executive orders to implement mandatory face masking in federal buildings, on public transit and on federal land.
Local governments have implemented similar programs, but obviously on a smaller scale. In July of last year, Palm Beach County, Fla., sent four branded masks to each of its 659,000 residents. You might also remember that the Tennessee government sent out reusable face masks to residents, but had to temporarily hold off on distribution because it was unclear whether the face masks were actually safe to wear (they were) after spending more than $8 million on the program.
Sending masks to every American would take a lot more planning, and that’s something the president’s staff is still working out, such as whether the masks would be reusable or disposable, and how much the program would cost.
“There are a range of options on the table to help protect more Americans from the coronavirus and encourage people to mask up, but no decision has been made,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
The Trump administration actually considered a similar plan in 2020, but scrapped it, sending the masks it already acquired to nonprofit organizations and state agencies. Part of the $640 million in contracts the Trump administration finalized in May 2020 included a deal with Hanes, which made 450 million masks last spring.
While the vaccine rollout continues, top health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci have underscored the importance of mask wearing to prevent the spread and contraction of COVID-19 in public spaces.
Recently, Fauci called wearing multiple layers “common sense,” reiterating that if you have a mask with only one layer, it could be smart to wear two masks or purchase masks with multiple layers.
President Biden and other government officials have been seen in photos sometimes wearing multiple masks, such as a reusable mask over a single-layer disposable mask.
“If you’re talking about a physical barrier, and as the CDC recommends, you want at least two layers within the mask as a physical barrier, and you feel maybe more of a physical barrier would be better, there’s nothing wrong with people wearing two masks,” Fauci said, according to NBC. “I often myself wear two masks.”
With that in mind, it’s possible that the Biden team is weighing how many masks to send per household, should the plan come to fruition. Much of that would depend on the final product they decide on, whether it is single- or multi-layered.