As COVID-19 continues to spread across Iowa, the Biden administration announced Wednesday it would make 400 million N95 masks available for free at retail pharmacies and community health centers across the United States.
N95 masks—which filter out 95% of all airborne particles—offer higher levels of protection against infection than surgical or cloth masks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The announcement comes one day after Biden’s team launched a new website—covidtests.gov—allowing Americans to order at-home coronavirus tests for free amid the ongoing surge of cases.
In Iowa, where the state’s Republican leadership has effectively thrown in the towel on efforts to fight the pandemic, cases have more than tripled since Jan. 1, and 26 Iowans continue to die each day from the virus.
Iowa health officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated. While the new, more transmissible Omicron variant has been shown to be more effective at evading vaccines and causing infection, the vaccines remain remarkably effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death.
According to the most recent state data, unvaccinated Iowans account for roughly two-thirds of all hospitalized COVID patients and 72% of patients in the ICU. To learn more about getting vaccinated and see where you can get the vaccines, visit vaccinate.iowa.gov.
By Keya Vakil