With the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19, the CDC has recommended that people wear the most effective face mask possible.
According to the CDC, one of the best masks to wear is the N95, as those masks filter out 95% of air particles. The Biden administration is providing 400 million of these masks to healthcare centers around the US over the next few weeks — here’s how you can get some for free.
According to CNBC, President Biden is sending out millions of masks so that community health centers and participating pharmacies can distribute 3 free N95 masks to every person who visits. Some participating locations also include CVS, Costco, and Walmart.
These masks are expected to arrive for distribution in early February. Make sure to call ahead to check for availability at the locations before you head in to claim your free masks.
There are participating pharmacies in each state. If you’re in Florida, check out the list below to see the participating locations:
- Costco Wholesale Corp.
- CPESN USA, LLC
- CVS Pharmacy, Inc. (including Long’s)
- Good Neighbor Pharmacy and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation’s pharmacy services administrative organization (PSAO), Elevate Provider Network
- Health Mart Pharmacies
- LeaderNET and The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, Cardinal Health’s PSAOs
- Publix Super Markets, Inc.
- Southeastern Grocers (Winn-Dixie, Harveys, Fresco Y Mas)
- The Kroger Co. (including Kroger, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Ralphs, King Soopers, Smiths, City Market, Dillons, Mariano’s, Pick-n-Save, Copps, Metro Market, QFC)
- Walgreens (including Duane Reade)
- Walmart, Inc. (including Sam’s Club)
You can check out the full list of participating pharmacies at the CDC’s website.
If you’re going to buy a face mask instead, the CDC has a few recommendations for making sure the mask is effective and meets the NIOSH standards. The best way to ensure the masks are of good quality is to get them from a healthcare professional. If you’re buying masks from a store or online, look for trustworthy retailers and manufacturers (see the CDC’s list of trustworthy manufacturers here).
For example, these N95 masks made by 3M are NIOSH approved, and they’re available on Amazon.
In general, head straps instead of ear loops are more secure and keep the mask closer to your face.
We’ll keep an eye on updated recommendations and the latest news, so stay tuned with AllEars.