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Free N95 masks are coming to pharmacies and stores nationwide

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Free N95 masks are coming to pharmacies and stores nationwide

| Today Headlines | Usa news

WASHINGTON — Pharmacies and health centers across the country have begun distributing the first of 400 million N95 masks the White House is sending to fight the fast-spreading omicron variant of the coronavirus.

President Joe Biden announced the initiative last week, sending masks from the National Strategic Stockpile as health experts stressed the importance of high-quality face coverings to protect against the omicron variant.

“We know these masks provide better protection than cloth masks,” Dr. Tom Inglesby, the administration’s Covid testing coordinator, said last week.

The Department of Health and Human Services said the masks would be available at “thousands of pharmacies and community health centers nationwide.” The agency described the effort asthe largest deployment of the Strategic National Stockpile to date” and said “it is also the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in United States history”.

A White House official said Mills Civic Hy-Vee of West Des Moines, Iowa, began handing out masks Friday and Hy-Vee expects masks to be available at its more than 200 stores in across Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, the South. Dakota, Wisconsin and Nebraska soon.

The masks arrived with flyers encouraging people to “mask and maximize your protection”.

Supermarket chain Meijer has also received masks and will make them available in its stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin, the official said. N95 masks will be in boxes arranged on tables near the Meijer Greeter stands at the entrance to the stores.

The masks are expected to start arriving at Southeastern Grocers stores as early as Friday, and they will be available at the company’s Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie in-store pharmacies.

A spokesperson for Walgreens told NBC Chicago that the chain also plans to start handing out masks at select locations by Friday. “Participating stores will have signage indicating mask availability,” the spokesperson said.

The White House has said people will be limited to three masks per person to ensure wide access. It is not known how many have been distributed to date.

Jeff Zients, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, said late last week that “we’ve already shipped millions of these masks across the country, and in the next few days masks will begin to be available at local pharmacies and community health centers.”

The White House said the administration hopes the program will be fully operational by early February.

The White House has also hatched a plan to mail out hundreds of millions of free Covid-19 home tests — up to four per household — to people who want them.

Free N95 masks are coming to pharmacies and stores nationwide

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