Joe Biden aims to distribute masks to millions in ''equity'' push

President Joe Biden plans to distribute many face masks to Americans in communities hard-hit by the coronavirus beginning next month as a part of his efforts to ensure “equity” within the government's response to the pandemic.

Biden, who like Donald Trump's administration considered sending masks to all or any Americans, is instead adopting a more conservative approach, aiming to reach underserved communities and people bearing the brunt of the outbreak. Trump's administration shelved the plans entirely.

Biden''s plan will distribute masks not through the mail, but instead through Federally Qualified Community Health Centers and the nation''s bank and food pantry systems, the White House announced Wednesday.

The Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture are going to be involved within the distribution of quite 25 million American-made cloth masks in both adult and kid sizes. The White House estimates they're going to reach 12 million to fifteen million people.

“Not all Americans are wearing masks regularly, not all have access, and not all masks are equal,” said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients.

The White house is not distributing safer N95 masks, of which the U.S. now has abundant supply after shortages early in the pandemic.

The cloth masks adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and "certainly they meet those requirements set by our federal standard,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Biden hinted at the move Tuesday during a virtual roundtable discussion Tuesday with four essential workers who are Black, saying he expected his administration to send millions of masks to people around the country “very shortly.”

Biden has asked all Americans to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his term, pointing to models showing it could help save 50,000 lives. He also required mask-wearing in federal buildings and on public transportation in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

In late January, a Quinnipiac poll showed that 75 percent of us citizens said they wear a mask all the time once they leave publicly and are around others, and a further 12 per cent said they wear a mask most of the time.

Biden has made a virtue of his public displays of mask-wearing, drawing contrast with Trump, who only rarely was seen covering his face while president.

Biden has also required the utilization of masks around the White House, unlike Trump, whose White House was the scene of a minimum of three outbreaks of the virus.

Dr. Dhillon Randeep

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