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White House sending masks to food banks and community health centers

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The Biden administration is sending more than 25 million masks to community health centers, food banks and soup kitchens in an effort to target low-income Americans. It's a scaled-down version of an earlier proposal to send masks to every American. 

The White House says the masks will be made in America and describes them as "high quality, washable, and consistent with the mask guidance from the CDC." Roughly 12 to 15 million Americans in disadvantaged areas are expected to receive a mask. The masks will go to more than 1,300 community health centers and 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens, "reaching some of the nation's most vulnerable populations," the White House said.

Mr. Biden has urged all Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his presidency, although experts say masks will be needed for much longer than that to help defeat the pandemic. The U.S. has surpassed the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends mask wearing as a critical step to help slow the spread and protect people from getting COVID-19, but many low-income Americans still lack access to this basic protection," the White House said in announcing the initiative. 

The president is trying to target ethnic minorities and financially disadvantaged communities that have often been hardest hit by the pandemic. 

Mr. Biden has also set a goal of 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days, although the U.S. was roughly already reaching that pace by the time he arrived in office. His administration has set out to purchase more vaccine shots than his predecessor did, and the White House says the U.S. will have enough vaccine supply for all American adults by the end of July, though it will take longer than that to administer all the shots.

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