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U.S. Plans to Provide High-Quality Masks, 1B Rapid Tests to Americans

CDC says best mask is one you will wear correctly

January 13, 2022

With COVID-19 case counts reaching record rates, President Joe Biden today said his administration is preparing to provide free high-quality masks and ship one billion at-home rapid tests to Americans.

During remarks from the White House, Biden said the administration next week will announce details of its plan to make high-quality masks available to Americans. The plan comes as the public has looked to the nation’s public health leaders for guidance on masking amid the spread of the Omicron variant.

Masks “are a really important tool to stop the spread, especially of a highly transmissible Omicron variant,” Biden said.

Yesterday, leaders from the White House COVID-19 Response Team said that they were planning to provide additional information about the types of masks available to the public.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “continues to recommend that any mask is better than no mask, and we do encourage all Americans to wear a well-fitting mask to protect themselves and prevent the spread of COVID-19 and that recommendation is not going to change,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Wednesday.

She added: “The best mask that you wear is the one that you will wear, and the one that you can keep on all day long—that you can tolerate in public, indoor settings and tolerate where you need to wear it.”

In addition, the U.S. will launch a website next week where Americans can order free tests shipped to their home, Biden said. The U.S. is planning to buy 500 million additional tests, doubling its initial order, Biden said.

HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospitals encourage everyone to do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19 by:

  • Getting vaccinated or receiving a booster dose when they are eligible
  • Wearing a well-fitting mask in public indoor settings
  • Staying home when sick
  • Getting tested and quarantining after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

HAP will continue to provide updates on the latest public health developments for members and the general public.

A replay of Biden’s remarks—as well as the CDC’s masking guidelines and community testing locationsis available online.