President Joe Biden’s administration is considering sending a face mask to everyone in America to help curb the spread of coronavirus, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News Thursday.
The White House’s COVID-19 Response Team is mulling ways of getting millions of masks directly to US households, a White House official said. They added that no decision had been made, and no proposal had been put through the policy process that gives Biden final approval.
A similar plan to deliver 650 million face masks to Americans was previously scrapped by the Trump administration.
Biden’s top health experts have discussed the idea at multiple meetings in recent days, sources said. Biden has repeatedly asked Americans to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It’s unclear what the masks would be made of, how many would be sent to each household, or when they would be sent.
“There are a range of options on the table to help protect more Americans from the coronavirus and encourage people to mask up, but no decision has been made,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told NBC News.
In December, Biden said he would ask Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his presidency to help reduce coronavirus cases.
Biden signed an executive order on January 21 requiring air passengers to wear masks while flying and on most forms of mass transit.
He also signed an executive order the day before directing that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for mask-wearing should be followed in and around the White House and on federal lands.
Biden has taken a very different approach to former President Donald Trump.
The Trump White House dumped a plan by the US Postal Service to send millions of face masks to every household in the US in April. Officials thought “receiving masks might create concern or panic,” a senior official told The Washington Post in September.