The federal government is going to purchase high-quality face masks to distribute to Americans at no cost. Officials are expected to announce the details of the distribution plan next week.
"I know that for some Americans, a mask is not always affordable or convenient to get, so next week we will announce how we are making high-quality masks available to the American people for free," President Joe Biden said at the White House. "I know we all wish we could finally be done with wearing masks, I get it, but they are a really important tool to stop the spread, especially of the highly transmissible Omicron variant."
Biden also announced plans to send medical teams to six states to help hospitals and healthcare facilities deal with the influx of patients testing positive for COVID-19 and staffing shortages.
Those teams will be deployed to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, Henry Ford Hospital outside Detroit, University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque, and University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey.
"These teams will be providing relief, triaging patients, helping to decompress overwhelmed emergency departments, and freeing up health care providers to continue other lifesaving care. They will be working alongside health care workers on the front lines to give them the support they need," a White House official told CNN.