Politics

Schiff, Khanna call for 'mass distribution' of free coronavirus masks in relief package

California Democrats Reps. Adam Schiff and Ro Khanna on Tuesday called for congressional leadership to provide for the “mass distribution” of free face coverings and masks to all Americans in the next coronavirus stimulus relief bill.

In a letter to House and Senate leadership Tuesday, Schiff and Khanna urged lawmakers to include mask-related provisions in the next legislation responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As states across the country experience a worrying climb in COVID-19 infection rates, it’s time to take masks seriously as one of the most effective interventions we have against the virus,” they wrote. “We respectfully request the inclusion of these mask-related provisions in the upcoming coronavirus relief package and stand ready to work with you.”

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Schiff and Khanna said that “a high level of mask adoption reduces transmission of COVID-19 and is perhaps the single most effective step we can take to reduce the spread of the virus and prevent the need for stricter measures.”

“While nothing short of a vaccine or a cure can truly end the threat of this virus, we must aggressively pursue simple and affordable courses of action that can mitigate infections and save tens of thousands of lives,” they continued. “Relative to the billions of dollars that we spent on critical steps like testing and contact tracing and the trillions that we spent on economic relief, masks are a low-cost intervention.”

They added that It is time to “take masks seriously” as one of the “most effective interventions we have against the virus.”

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The calls for masks to be included in the next coronavirus relief package comes as congressional lawmakers and the Trump administration remain stalled in negotiations as to what the fourth stimulus bill will include.

Meanwhile, President Trump has begun urging Americans to wear masks, calling the practice “patriotic,” after weeks of not wearing a face covering despite recommendations from health officials.

“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance,” Trump tweeted last month, along with a photo of himself wearing a mask. “There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”

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