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January 19, 2022 – Biden Administration to Distribute Free N95 Masks

On January 19, 2022, the Biden Administration announced that U.S. residents will be eligible to receive free N95 masks in the coming weeks. 400 million masks will be made available to the public from the Strategic National Stockpile, which currently has over 750 million masks in reserve. These masks will be available for pickup at local pharmacies and communities health centers across the country that have partnered with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign and each individual will be eligible to receive up to three masks. Americans should prioritize wearing these N95 masks because they provide the greatest protection against COVID-19 compared to cloth or surgical masks. These masks have been difficult for some Americans to acquire because they are more expensive than alternative masks and there have been intermittent supply shortages. This latest action from the Biden Administration complements the federal government’s recent initiative to provide free at-home testing kits to every American household in response to the overwhelming Omicron wave of COVID-19 infections. Providing free masks and at-home testing kits to the American public for free will bolster public health efforts to ensure that the country experiences fewer COVID-19 infections and to reduce the strain on the American health care system. However, these critical supplies will be quickly exhausted and Pandemic Patients urges the Biden Administration to establish plans to provide additional masks and at-home testing kits each month that the pandemic continues.

EEOC Issues New COVID-19 Guidance, Protecting Workers from Discrimination

On December 14, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) amended guidance titled “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.” In the amended guidance, the EEOC clarifies that workers with COVID-19 can be protected from discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This document expands on guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in September 2021, which included several examples of how long COVID can meet the definition of disability under federal law.

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