The Mask Or Respirator Evaluation

Studying the effectiveness of mask types to inform public health recommendations in Wisconsin

Full Project Name:The Mask Or Respirator EvaluationPrincipal Investigator:Jeff Whittle, MD, MPH, Clinical and Translational Science InstituteCo-Investigator:John Meurer, MD, Institute for Health & EquityAward Amount:$100,620
Award Date
February2021
Project Duration:17 months

Project Description Narrative:


COVID-19 is the most important new infection since HIV emerged in 1979, with over 25 million confirmed cases and 424,000 deaths in the U.S. at the time of this project launching. As understanding of the virus evolves, guidance around prevention has evolved as well. Experts now agree that social distancing, use of face masks and avoidance of prolonged indoor exposure to non-family members can reduce spread. However, there is little consensus on what masks community members should wear since research has focused primarily on use in medical and industrial settings.

This AHW award will expand the impact of FightCOVIDMKE and All of Us, two existing NIH grants, to enable the project team to conduct a randomized trial comparing the rate and severity of COVID-19 infection in persons given KN94 respirator masks to persons given surgical masks. This will inform public health guidance on mask types both for the COVID-19 pandemic and for future widespread respiratory illnesses.

Project Updates:


Project has not yet entered reporting period

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