PANDEMIC PULSE

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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.

Pandemic Patients Submits Letter of Support for California’s Proposed Workplace Safety Standards

On July 29, 2022, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) proposed to implement new workplace safety standards for large employers operating in the state. Referred to as General Industry Safety Orders, the proposed standards would require employers to play a more active role in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

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Biden Administration Releases Long COVID Reports to Support Patients and Researchers

On August 3, 2022, the Biden Administration announced the release of two reports on long COVID: the first report provided a summary of existing government programs that are available to support long COVID patients and the second report established a framework for future research on long COVID. These reports are the result of an executive order that President Biden issued in April, which required the federal government to undertake an inter-agency effort to address long COVID.

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