We all know face masks can be troublesome to wear. They can irritate your skin, hurt your ears and fog up your glasses.
That’s why the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched the $500,000 “Mask Innovation Challenge” to find new and effective masks people will find more comfortable to wear.
Contest participants have until April 21 to submit innovative ideas that would help eliminate common concerns that come with wearing masks while making sure they effectively protect against the coronavirus.
More than 165 million vaccines have been administered in the United States so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But masks remain a serious priority.
“We know that properly and consistently worn face masks help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory infections, but many people are reluctant to wear them for a variety of reasons,” Nikki Bratcher-Bowman, the acting assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS, said in a press release. “With this mask challenge, we want to get people across the country involved in developing new masks that are both effective and comfortable. This will help us control COVID-19 and be better prepared for future public health emergencies.
“HHS is hosting the contest in collaboration with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the agency responsible for leading the charge on the production and purchase of vaccines.