The Biden administration said Wednesday that it plans to deliver more than 25 million masks to more than 1,300 community health centers and thousands of food pantries and soup kitchens, in an effort to reach the most vulnerable Americans.
White House Coronavirus Task Force Director Jeffrey Zients said the new effort would cost $86 million.
The administration, beginning next month, will deliver the masks to community health centers and more than 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens across the nation.
The masks will be “high-quality”, “washable” and in line with CDC guidance.
“We believe this policy makes a lot of sense in that it allows people who are not able to, in some situations, find or afford a mask to get a mask,” Zients said. “It is part of our equity strategy and central to that.”
Zients said, “Months ago, sending a mask to every American would have been a good idea,” but noted that today, not all Americans are wearing masks regularly, and noted that “not all masks are equal.”
“Many Americans need access to a mask that provides effective protection in line with CDC guidance,” Zients said. “This plan of sending masks to community health centers and to food pantries is an effort that focuses on people who may be particularly in need of the extra support to stay safe, and to meet the president’s mask challenge of masking up for the first 100 days.”
Meanwhile, Zients said the U.S. is averaging 1.4 million doses of vaccine administered per day, down from last week’s average of 1.7 million. He pointed to weather delays for last week’s dip and said an uptick in supply being shipped out would likely accelerate the pace.