President Joe Biden's administration will deliver more than 25 million face masks to over 1,300 community health centers and 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens across the US over the next few weeks. The goal is to "make masks more easily available to communities hard hit by the pandemic," according to a press release from the White House.
Who will get the free face masks?
The administration estimates that more than 12 million Americans will have access to the free masks, which are reusable.
The Department of Health and Human Services will partner with the Department of Defense to distribute the masks across the country. In the communities where the masks are being delivered, everyone will be eligible to request one from their local community health center.
For food bank mask distribution, the Department of Defense will partner with the Department of Agriculture. The masks will be delivered to many of the country's food banks, and they'll then be distributed across food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the US.
What do we know about the masks?
The masks will come in packages of two, with families encouraged to take one package for each member of the household. The Biden administration says these masks will be made in America of "high-quality" material, washable and effectively meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's mask guidelines.
"They'll be well-fitting cloth masks available in children's and adult sizes," Jeff Zients, the White House COVID Coordinator, said during a press briefing.
Which communities will get the masks?
At this time, no information's been given about specific locations where the free masks will be available for pickup. We'll update this story as we learn more information.
Why is the US government giving away face masks?
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 500,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. The Biden administration noted that many low-income Americans still lack access to face masks.
And though vaccine distribution has been elevated exponentially since mid-January, many people are still waiting for their chance to get vaccinated (here are locations offering the COVID-19 vaccine now). The CDC recommends wearing a mask to help prevent yourself and others from spreading the coronavirus.
More to know about face masks