Biden says administration will 'probably' mail out millions of masks soon

President Joe Biden said Tuesday the White House will "probably" move to...

Posted: Feb 23, 2021 2:04 PM

President Joe Biden said Tuesday the White House will "probably" move to send face masks directly to Americans as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. It's a plan originally proposed by health officials during the Trump administration but was blocked by the former President.

"We're probably going to be sending out an awful lot of masks around the country very shortly, millions of them," Biden said during a roundtable event with Black frontline workers. He said that the issue of masks was turned into a political issue, which cost "an awful lot of lives."

"We could have saved literally an awful lot of lives if people had listened. We turned wearing masks into a political statement. If you were for this thing, you wore it, if we were for somebody else, you didn't wear it, when in fact, it's just plain basic science," Biden said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a CNN request for additional details.

Studies have shown, and Dr. Anthony Fauci has pointed out many times, masks are the single most effective way to protect yourself and others from getting infected with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, the disease.

"Masks are a two-way street. Masks protect you and me" by preventing the spread of droplets and aerosol that may contain the virus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in its mask guidance.

Biden has called on everyone to wear a mask when out in public, and he has made it mandatory on federal property. Masks are required on public transportation and in airports and transit stations.

Most states and some local governments have some type of mask mandate in place, and most retailers require shoppers to wear them in their stores.

Earlier this month, White House chief of staff Ron Klain said that the Biden administration is hoping to resurrect a proposal from the Trump administration to send masks directly to Americans.

"This was an idea that really came up last year in the Trump administration -- the public health agencies recommended it, President Trump vetoed it for some reason," Klain told NBC's Lester Holt on February 4. "We want to get this back on track. I hope in the next few days, or next week, we may be able to announce some progress on this."

The US Postal Service had planned to distribute 650 million face coverings for the Trump administration last April, according to internal documents reviewed by CNN in September.

A senior administration official told The Washington Post at the time that the plan was scrapped by the White House as some advisers were worried that it could create "concern or panic."

Not all masks are created equal, and its not clear what kind of masks would be sent. N95 masks are the gold standard of masks because they block 95% of large and small particles using an electrostatic filter.

Cloth masks have the advantage of being washable and reusable -- the more layers, the better.

"If you're wearing a cloth mask, it should be a multi-layered mask so that you have several layers of potential protection for a single mask," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky recently told CNN's Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta.

The CDC has recently updated its guidance to suggest wearing a cloth mask over a disposable mask, such as one of those blue surgical masks, as a way to add more protection. New data from the CDC shows that layering a cloth mask over a disposable medical mask can block 92.5% of potentially infectious particles from escaping by creating a tighter fit and eliminating leakage.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, has recently sported two masks, one on top of the other.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 396501

Reported Deaths: 5268
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61066850
Washington42631406
Marion40277517
Clackamas33256388
Lane30473363
Jackson25211363
Deschutes23984192
Umatilla15155184
Linn14966184
Douglas13608295
Josephine10357248
Yamhill9878145
Klamath9120152
Polk8347103
Benton622940
Malheur593592
Coos5806109
Columbia441156
Jefferson426066
Lincoln367952
Crook343958
Union341456
Wasco319646
Clatsop265435
Baker222533
Tillamook219846
Hood River217237
Morrow198425
Curry194239
Harney121733
Grant109116
Lake106318
Wallowa76313
Sherman1933
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1161
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 5127121

Reported Deaths: 74911
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153745027248
San Diego4104514351
Riverside3912955388
San Bernardino3784085998
Orange3367395771
Sacramento1699162460
Kern1588341838
Fresno1581872284
Santa Clara1536961933
Alameda1262241513
San Joaquin1084911837
Ventura1049251194
Contra Costa1046451058
Stanislaus922291434
Tulare869791102
San Francisco57458674
San Mateo56861631
Monterey52973626
Solano48014360
Santa Barbara47846555
Merced45506672
Sonoma43609414
Placer42736473
Imperial39148778
Kings35547369
San Luis Obispo31803360
Madera26511311
Shasta26353462
Butte25690320
Santa Cruz22540224
Yolo21792263
Marin18728249
El Dorado18544168
Sutter14691186
Napa13501107
Yuba1084791
Humboldt10360119
Tehama10329133
Nevada10187105
Mendocino873799
Lassen801259
San Benito793979
Tuolumne782691
Lake7073113
Amador583267
Siskiyou480757
Glenn460336
Calaveras449988
Del Norte380442
Colusa329821
Inyo259446
Plumas19679
Mono19274
Mariposa163318
Trinity102117
Modoc7956
Unassigned3820
Sierra2210
Alpine1080
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