Surging coronavirus cases in the United States, driven by the highly contagious omicron variant, have prompted renewed recommendations from health experts that the public should consider wearing more protective face coverings, such as N95 or KN95 masks.

President Biden also said his administration is working on making such higher-quality masks more widely available.

“Next week, we’ll announce how we are making high-quality masks available to the American people for free,” Biden said Thursday. “I know we all wish that we could finally be done with wearing masks. I get it. But they are a really important tool to stop the spread, especially of the highly transmittable omicron variant.”

The administration noted this week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “recommends Americans wear a well-fitting mask.” Biden acknowledged Thursday that “for some Americans, the mask is not always affordable or convenient to get.”

Health experts say while there are no hard and fast rules, there are best practices for safely getting multiple uses out of N95s or KN95s.

On Jan. 13, President Biden said his administration will announce a plan to make “high-quality masks available to American people for free." (The Washington Post)