AP Photo/Noah Berger Elementary school teacher Carrie Landheer protests for stronger COVID-19 safety protocols outside Oakland Unified School District headquarters on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, in Oakland, Calif. Along with fellow teachers, she staged a sickout Friday urging the district to provide N95 masks, conduct weekly COVID-19 testing and institute two weeks of remote learning to reduce transmission rates.
AP Photo/Noah Berger

As COVID-19 continues to spread across Arizona, the Biden administration announced Wednesday that it would make 400 million N95 masks available for free at retail pharmacies and community health centers across the United States. 

N95 masks—which filter out 95% of all airborne particles—offer higher levels of protection against infection than surgical or cloth masks, according to the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The announcement comes one day after Biden’s team launched a new website—covidtests.gov—allowing Americans to order at-home coronavirus tests for free amid the ongoing surge of cases. 

In Arizona, where the state’s Republican leadership has effectively thrown in the towel on efforts to fight the pandemic, cases have increased nearly 600% since Christmas and nearly 60 Arizonans continue to die each day from the virus.

In addition to testing and wearing masks, health experts continue to urge people to get vaccinated. While the new, more transmissive omicron variant has been shown to be more effective at evading vaccines and causing infection, the vaccines remain remarkably effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death.

According to the most recent state data from November, unvaccinated Arizonans were 31.1 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than their fully vaccinated counterparts. To learn more about getting vaccinated and see where you can get the vaccines, head over to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

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