The Biden administration is discussing the possibility of sending cloth masks to every American household, according to NBC News. As of 2020, there were 124 million U.S. households.
That’s one way to make the U.S. Postal Service solvent.
The Trump administration looked at the idea but eventually abandoned it. Instead, they sent masks to nonprofit groups and state agencies.
The administration didn’t calculate how many tons of masks will end up in American landfills and what environmental impact it will have.
It’s unclear when the masks would go out to the public, how many would be included per residence and whether they would be disposable or made of cloth. It’s also not yet clear what the cost could be.
“There are a range of options on the table to help protect more Americans from the coronavirus and encourage people to mask up, but no decision has been made,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
A decision memo hasn’t gone through the policy process yet, a White House official said.
Is there anyone in America who wants a mask, needs a mask, and can’t get one? That’s what makes this plan foolish and wasteful. I have yet to hear anyone complaining that no masks are available where they live or that they can’t afford a mask and no one is giving them out for free.
No doubt the Trump administration asked the same questions.
Emails obtained by The Washington Post and other outlets indicated that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed the plan in April, including that five reusable masks be delivered to every residential address and prioritizing areas with the worst coronavirus outbreaks, with the Postal Service also preparing a news release outlining where the shipments would first go.
However, the Trump White House vetoed the plan, instead creating the Project: America Strong initiative, which at the time had distributed about 600 million masks to vulnerable and critical sectors.
Sending masks to state and local organizations and agencies makes a lot more sense than deluging the Postal Service with 124 million packages of masks.
Jim Geraghty asks, “Really? We Need a Federally Run Face-Mask-Giveaway Program?”
Is a lack of access to masks really the problem in this country? Are people not wearing them because they can’t find them or afford them? Judging from the grocery-store parking lots of America, we have a surplus of masks and people leave used masks all over the place. Masks are available for free from state governments, county health departments, local governments, retirement homes, car dealerships . . .
A federally run mask-distribution program feels like a solution in search of a problem.
Yes, but Biden needs to be seen to be “doing something about the pandemic,” unlike Trump who did nothing. Or, at least, that’s what Democrats and the media told us.