WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden’s administration is exploring sending protective face masks directly to all Americans to help fight the spread of
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden’s administration is exploring sending protective face masks directly to all Americans to help fight the spread of COVID-19 after former President Donald Trump scrapped the same initiative last year.
“We want to get this back on track,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Thursday in an interview on NBC. “We’re looking at what can be done to quickly do this with the mask supplies that we have. I hope in the next few days or the next week, we can perhaps announce some progress on this.”
Biden has called on Americans to wear face masks for the next 100 days. Even as more than 440,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S, half of Americans don’t regularly wear masks in large groups.
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Researchers at the University of Southern California’s Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research last month found only 47% of Americans reported they wear face masks when gathering at an event of more than 10 people.
“This is part, overall, of a plan to try to get every American masked up in these first 100 days,” Klain said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make masks more available to people, to increase the supply of masks and, of course, get people to wear those masks.”
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NBC first reported Biden’s COVID-19 Response Team is weighing sending masks to all Americans. The Trump administration ditched a similar plan last year, according to the television network, choosing to instead send masks to nonprofits and states.
Earlier Thursday, Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki said “no decision has been made” on the idea. She did not have a cost estimate.
“Obviously, it would depend on how many people would be sent a mask.”
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.