U.S. President Joe Biden takes off his mask to sign executive orders strengthening access to affordable healthcare at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2021.
Most of the attention of the new federal administration of the United States is focused on fighting the COVID 19 pandemic. Efforts range from expanding the vaccination process to incentivizing access to exams, to a plan to fully reopen schools and the mandatory use of mouth-covering masks in public transport.
Under consideration is the possibility that, as an incentive in its use, it is the federal government itself, which sends millions of masks to every home in the country. The project is not new, it first emerged during the government of Donald J. Trump, but his administration ended up discarding the proposal. Let’s remember that the former president had an ambivalent relationship with the use of masks. At times he recommended them, at times he opposed them.
The Biden administration has recommended the use of masks as the main barrier to the spread of the virus. Even this week, the doctor Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (and virtually the only Trump administration official to transition to the Biden administration), was in favor of using two masks at the same time.
“This is a physical cover to prevent drops and viruses from entering. If you put another layer on one layer, it simply makes common sense that it is more effective, “declared the country’s main virologist to NBC.
Joe Biden has not yet approved the new project, but sources close to the White House agree that the idea of sending masks to homes has been debated in several meetings.
Biden has already asked citizens to wear face masks for at least the first 100 days of his administration, and among his executive orders signed in the first week is the requirement to use them in public transportation and federal buildings.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki shows up every day with her mask before giving her press conference.
“There are a variety of options to help protect more Americans from COVID 19 and encourage them to wear masks, but a final decision has not yet been made,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who also acknowledged that there are many uncertain details in the project such as the number of masks that could be sent per household, if they would be disposable or reusable and even the cost of the program.
At the time, when the project emerged during the Trump administration, the officials in charge determined that instead of sending the masks to homes, they would be sent to federal agencies across the country, public buildings and non-profit organizations that would distribute them among the population.
Under this program of the previous government, contracts were signed between the Department of Health and Human Services and textile manufacturers for the mass production of masks, under the America Strong program, for 640 million dollars.
Unlike what happened with the previous administration, In the Biden administration, all White House officials are required to wear a mask at all times. The press secretary herself comes to the daily press conferences with her mouth and nose covered, only to be discovered when giving statements from the podium. Biden himself is always wearing a mask, even during meetings in the Oval Room.
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