The White House reportedly canceled the program where U.S. Postal Service had planned on sending 650 million masks across the U.S.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) drafted plans to deliver 650 million face coverings during April 2020 to help contain the spreading of the coronavirus. But those plans were scrapped by the White House because it didn’t want to spark 'concern or panic' among Americans, senior administration officials told The Washington Post. The Post noted that at the time, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 'had been working on coronavirus guidance that recommended face coverings, a reversal of its previous position, in the face of mounting evidence that people could spread the coronavirus without experiencing symptoms.' The Post also notes that in place of the planned effort to distribute masks widely, “HHS created Project America Strong, a $675 million effort to distribute ‘reusable cotton face masks to critical infrastructure sectors, companies, healthcare facilities, and faith-based and community organizations across the country.’” The documents obtained by the transparency group American Oversight show the Postal Service was doing this in partnership with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the Department of Health and Human Services, and “a consortium of textile manufacturers.” This news came at the same time when President Donald Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed U.S. coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious, and “more deadly than even your strenuous flu,” and that he repeatedly played it down publicly, according to journalist Bob Woodward in his new book ‘Rage.’ “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump said on Mar. 19, according to CNN, which obtained an audio recording of the interview between Trump and Woodward. The Washington Post also accessed the interview where Trump said, “I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.” The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.