The Biden administration has promised to give away 400 million N95 masks to help fight back against the huge wave of Omicron infections. In a call with reporters, a White House official said the masks will be available starting in early February and Americans will be able to pick them up at zero cost at their local pharmacies and community health centers. “This is the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history,” the unnamed official told CNN. Earlier this month, the CDC updated its mask guidance to say that cloth masks “provide the least protection” against COVID-19, while well-fitting respirators such as N95s “offer the highest level of protection.” The free masks will come from the 750 million already stored in the the Strategic National Stockpile. On top of the mask pledge, the federal government will also officially launch its website to sign up for free COVID-19 tests on Wednesday.
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