WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden says the administration expects to send millions of masks to people around the country “very shortly.”
Such a plan was considered and dropped by Donald Trump’s administration.
Biden didn’t provide details, including cost, timing and the type of mask to be shipped. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The president confirmed the plan during a virtual roundtable discussion Tuesday with four Black essential workers: a St. Louis firefighter and EMT, a Chicago pharmacist, a child-care center employee in Columbus, Ohio, and a grocery store district manager in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Biden has asked everyone to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his term. He also required mask-wearing in federal buildings and on public transportation.
On Monday, the U.S. surpassed 500,000 COVID-19 deaths.
Coronavirus vaccine makers told Congress on Tuesday to expect a big increase in the delivery of doses over the coming month.
The companies indicated at a hearing they can provide enough vaccine for most Americans by summer. By the end of March, Pfizer and Moderna expect to have provided the U.S. government with a total of 220 million vaccine doses, up from the roughly 75 million shipped so far.
That’s not counting a third vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, which is expected to get approval from regulators soon.
Looking ahead to summer, Pfizer and Moderna expect to complete delivery of 300 million doses each, and J&J aims to provide an additional 100 million doses. That would be more than enough to vaccinate every American adult, the goal set by the Biden administration.