“There was concern from some in the White House Domestic Policy Council and the office of the vice president that households receiving masks might create concern or panic,” one administration official told the Post.
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.
USPS was planning to ship the masks in April and was going to prioritize areas “which HHS has identified as experiencing high transmission rates of Covid-19,” according to a draft USPS release. Louisiana’s Orleans and Jefferson parishes were going to be sent masks first, followed by King County, Washington; Wayne County, Michigan; and New York.
A separate draft media response statement said the packages would include “five reusable face cloths, which can be used up to 15 times each.”
“The Postal Service will utilize its unrivaled distribution network to deliver the face coverings. Letter carriers, rural carriers and others will deliver one pack of five face coverings to each residential delivery point and PO Box,” the draft USPS release read. “The packs will arrive labeled with a generic Postal Service barcode, not a specific address, and will include HHS instructions on proper use.”
The Post said that in place of the planned effort to widely distribute masks, “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.'”
A spokesman for the department told the newspaper that “about 600 million of the 650 million masks ordered have been distributed … including 125 million set aside for schools.”
CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.