Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Free N95 masks arriving at pharmacies, grocery stores across nation

The Biden administration announced it would be deploying 400 million free N95 masks to the public nearly a week ago, and now the high-quality face coverings are beginning to arrive at pharmacies and grocery stores across the United States.

The latest effort from the White House to combat COVID-19 following follows new recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which now says cloth masks are no longer as effective at preventing the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant.

Masks will be available at CVS Pharmacies, Walgreens, Kroger stores with pharmacies and Meijer stores, which primarily operate in the Midwest. Masks will be made available free for the public while supplies last. Every person is allowed up to three free masks pending availability, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina health officials reported 9,934 total new cases of COVID-19 Jan. 27, with 7,274 confirmed. A total of 26 new deaths, 20 of which were confirmed, were also reported.

Since Jan. 22, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) was unable to publish daily COVID updates due to record numbers of tests being reported. Testing numbers and the percentage of positive test results are still delayed, but are expected in the coming days according to a statement from DHEC.

Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 66.4%
Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 57%
Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 16.7%
Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 10.9%