US govt to distribute 25 million masks

US authorities issued an order requiring the use of masks on nearly all forms of public transport.
US authorities issued an order requiring the use of masks on nearly all forms of public transport.

The US federal government will deliver more than 25 million masks to community health centres, food pantries and soup kitchens as part of its battle against the coronavirus pandemic, the White House says.

The country's health authorities recommend mask wearing as a critical measure to help slow the spread of disease and the White House said low-income people still don't have access to masks.

The government will deliver the masks to more than 1300 community health centres and 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens between March and May, the White House said.

The masks are expected to reach between 12 million and 15 million people, it said.

US President Joe Biden issued a mask mandate when he took office in January as the pandemic raged on, requiring masks and physical distancing in all federal buildings and the development of a testing program for federal employees for COVID-19.

Shortly afterward, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a sweeping order requiring the use of face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation.

"These masks will be no cost, high-quality, washable and consistent with the mask guidance from the CDC. All of these masks will be made in America, and will not impact availability of masks for health care workers," the statement said.

Australian Associated Press