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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wears a mask in December while speaking with media members. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a bill Tuesday that would provide every person in the U.S. with three free N95 masks, he announced in a statement Tuesday.

Details: The Masks for All Act, first introduced in 2020, aims to improve access to high-filtration face masks by sending them to every person in the country, including people who are homeless, and those living in congregate settings like prison shelters or college dorms, per the bill summary.

  • The bill would allow people to get more masks at sites that already provide COVID-related services to their communities, like pharmacies and schools.

Why it matters: A growing body of evidence indicates the quality of a person's mask makes a significant difference in the likelihood they are infected with COVID-19, writes Axios' Will Chase.

What he's saying: "It is an absolute scandal that in the richest country in the history of the world, high-quality masks are not more readily available to frontline workers, health care workers, and all Americans," Sanders said.

  • "We are proposing that we do what our public health experts and scientists say we must do: provide all of our people with high-quality, N95 masks without cost, which could prevent death and suffering and save huge amounts of health care dollars," Sanders added.

The bill has 15 Senate cosponsors along with more than 30 sponsors in the House.

Go deeper: How switching to an N95 mask gives a 75x boost in COVID protection

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden calls Fox News reporter a "stupid son of a b---h" on hot mic

President Biden blasted Fox News' Peter Doocy on Monday after the reporter asked if the nation's soaring inflation is a political liability, saying, "what a stupid son of a b----h."

The latest: The president called Doocy Monday evening, the reporter told Fox's Sean Hannity. "He cleared the air and I appreciated it. We had a nice call," Doocy said when asked whether the president apologized, adding: "I don't need anyone to apologize to me."

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