White House May Soon Offer ‘High-Quality’ Masks to Americans

Thursday, January 13, 2022 — A program to provide high-quality face masks to Americans has been evaluated by the Biden administration as a way to help significantly slow the spread of the transmissible Omicron variant.

“We are aggressively considering options now,” Jeffrey Zentes, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, said Wednesday at a pandemic news briefing. New York times mentioned.

The masks that provide the most protection are the N95 and K-N95, both of which are approved by the US government to block 95% of the new coronavirus. But experts warn that there is a severe shortage of them, and that counterfeit products are everywhere.

No details were provided about what type of masks may be distributed under any new federal program, how many masks will be offered, or when they will be made available. But he said the government has a stockpile of more than 750 million N95 masks on hand for health care and emergency workers.

One option being discussed is distributing masks at community sites, a person familiar with the planning said times.

A mask distribution program is being considered as virus cases and hospitalizations rise across the country. Federal data released Tuesday showed that more than 140,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the past week, a new record. These hospitalizations also included people who tested positive for the virus after being hospitalized for a different health condition.

On Tuesday, Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the US Department of Health and Human Services, told senators that additional contracts for N95 masks could be completed by February, times mentioned.

O’Connell said potential contractors are being asked to produce 141 million masks per month “with an increase capacity.”

Despite the unprecedented surge in Omicron, Dr. Rochelle Walinsky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said new health care data from Southern California shows that people with the Omicron variant were less likely to develop severe illness or death than those with the Omicron variant. who hit its preceding, delta variable, and times mentioned. It indicated a 53 percent lower risk of hospitalization with the onset of symptoms, a 74 percent lower risk of admission to intensive care, and a 91 percent lower risk of death.

“I think the deaths we are seeing now are still from Delta,” Walnsky said. And she indicated that the data during the next two weeks will reveal the severity of the Omicron variant.

Walensky added that the CDC is updating its guidance on masks to address differences in protection between different types.

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