Sen. Bernie Sanders and approximately 50 of his colleagues have reportedly introduced a bill that would send three N95 masks to every U.S. resident.
To achieve their plan, Sanders and company indicate that it would take approximately $5 billion. Potential costs range from manufacturing, distribution and setting up sites where people would be able to pick up these masks. However, lawmakers believe that the cost is warranted as many health officials warn that N95 masks are more effective than cloth masks in combating the spread of COVID-19.
“As we face the rapidly spreading omicron variant, we should remember that not all face masks are created equal,” Sanders said in a statement obtained by The Hill.
“Congress must demand the mass production and distribution of N95 masks, one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the Covid virus. It is an absolute scandal that in the richest country in the history of the world, high-quality masks are not more readily available to frontline workers, health care workers, and all Americans.”
The recent push to distribute N95 masks coincides with an uptick in recorded COVID-19 cases and COVID-19 related hospitalizations. On Monday, the U.S. reportedly endured 1.35 million new COVID-19 cases. One day later, the U.S. reportedly hospitalized more than 145,000 people for COVID-19 related issues.
“Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations and should not be considered an acceptable form of face covering,” professor Leana Wen of George Washington University tweeted.
“The US should require (& distribute) medical-grade surgical masks to be worn in crowded indoor spaces.”