An employee of the Washington National Cathedral remembered something important. During the H5N1 virus, the avian flu, the cathedral purchased 5000 N95 masks in order to maintain pastoral care without endangering the clergy. The avian flu turned out not to need such drastic measures, so the masks were packed away into a crypt. The masks were from 2006, so as soon as they were discovered Cathedral staff contacted the CDC to determine their efficacy and shelf life. The masks are perfectly usable, so 2000 were donated to the National Children’s Hospital, 3000 to Georgetown Hospital, and the remainder was retained for clerical use.
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