By ZEKE MILLER
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration will begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free to Americans starting next week. The step comes after federal officials emphasized the masks’ better protection against the omicron variant of COVID-19 over cloth face coverings. The White House said Wednesday the masks will come from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of the highly protective masks on hand. The masks will be available for pickup at pharmacies and community health centers across the country. The White House says the masks will begin shipping this week for distribution starting late next week.