After nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US government has finally released free masks to distribute to the public.
In January, the Biden administration announced it would hand out 400 million N95s for free as one of the steps to prevent the spread of the pandemic. The masks, provided by the Strategic National Reserve, will be available at local pharmacies and health centers. A White House official told CNN the program will be “up and running by early February”.
The program comes as the US hits an unprecedented increase of more than 800,000 average daily cases – the highest ever at any point during the pandemic.
On January 14, the CDC updated its mask guidelines, recommending that “you should wear a protective mask that fits as well as possible, and that you will wear it consistently.”
Below, WWD shares everything you need to know about the free, government-issued N95 mask. Scroll to know more.
Where can I find free N95 masks?
Masks are now and will be available at tens of thousands of pharmacies and hundreds of community health centers across the country. Pharmacies that have worked with the government to help distribute COVID-19 vaccines are also participating in the mask program.
These should include CVS, Walgreens/Duane Reade, Rite Aid, Albertsons, Walmart, and Costco, among many others.
If you want to buy a free mask, the best way is to call your local pharmacy to confirm they are available as not all stores will accept them. So far, the only option to get free masks is to pick them up.
When will there be masks?
The government-issued masks appear to have reached certain pharmacies and centers by mid-January, but the program is not expected to be fully operational until early February. Lots of pharmacies should be available at the moment, but if you want to double check, call your local pharmacy.
If you don’t have the patience for an N95 mask, you can always buy them online, but make sure they’re from a reputable seller. There have been reports of fake or counterfeit KN95 masks online, so make sure the packaging is not tampered with, has no expiration date, use official terminology carefully, and the logo or company is seen on the mask. Page.
EvolveTogether, WellBefore, Project N95, Lowe’s and The Home Depot are just a few of the places that sell N95 masks.
How many masks can I put on?
The government has issued three free N95 masks per adult.
What is the difference between N95 masks and regular masks?
According to the CDC, N95 respirators are recommended as they are included in the group of respirators that offer better protection among the masks currently available to the public.
“Clear textiles provide the least protection, multi-layered fine textiles provide better protection, disposable surgical masks fit well, and KN95s provide good protection. over and NIOSH-approved fitting respirators (including N95s) provide the highest level of protection,” the CDC said in a statement.
While all masks will provide protection, it is the N95 that provides the best protection.
How many times can I reuse my N95 mask?
The CDC recommends that you do not use an N95 respirator more than five times in total. Any deterioration or fraying of the belt indicates that it is not providing a tight seal and should be replaced with another mask.
Will there be more masks in the future?
Currently, the government does not have any specific plans to distribute more free masks.
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