Help Us to Stop

September 7, 2021
Maryland Institute of Environmental Health 688 Seminar:

Results of the UMD StopCOVID Study
High Efficiency Air Sanitation with Germicidal UV Light for Schools and Conference Rooms

presented by Jianyu Lai, MPH and Don Milton, MD, DrPH

Date: Sep 7, 2021

Link to the zoom recording: click here

Passcode: !+h8%j?Q

Infectious SARS-CoV-2 in Exhaled Aerosols and Efficacy of Masks During Early Mild Infection

We have analyzed the RESULTS of 13 months of the StopCOVID study. The manuscript is available at here, and is undergoing review for publication.
Key points:

  • Cases exhale infectious viral aerosols.

  • SARS-CoV-2 is evolving toward more efficient airborne transmission.

  • Loose-fitting masks significantly but moderately reduce viral RNA aerosol.

  • Tight-fitting masks or respirators and ventilation/air cleaning are essential for worker protection in public-facing or crowded indoor workplaces.

Please also check out the article at Science News that talks about our results:

Thanks to everyone who took part in this part of the study!!!

What to do about K-12 Schools and Musical Performance?

Check out Dr. Milton's statements and guidance in our News & Publications section.
Also read about better fitting masks, and how they can benefit you.

How to Help

If you were recently infected and want to volunteer for the shedding study, or are working or living on campus and want to volunteer for weekly testing, please email us with a message about which study you want to volunteer for at or call 424-246-8358.

Study Overview

We are currently recruiting:

  • Anyone with COVID-19 who has recent onset of symptoms (a week or less and isolated at home) for VIRUS SHEDDING AND FACE MASK TESTING (paid up to $325 after several visits)

  • Contacts of someone with COVID-19 infection for CONTACT FOLLOW-UP TESTING (paid $25/visit up to $125)

  • Anyone working or living on or near the UMD campus for a DAILY SURVEY AND WEEKLY TESTING

Study Purpose

This research is being conducted by Donald K. Milton, MD, DrPH and a team of researchers at the University of Maryland with funding from the University and U.S. government agencies.

The purpose is to find out how people transmit COVID-19 and how to prevent transmission.

  • How much airborne virus does an infected person exhale?

  • How much virus is released into the air when an infected person breathes, talks, or sings?

  • How well do surgical and homemade masks block release of airborne virus?

This work will help us understand whether airborne transmission is important and how to prevent it.

Another goal is to gather samples that can be used to better understand how the body fights the infection. This will help with future research to develop new medications and vaccines, so that we can help to STOP COVID-19!

If you are currently infected, study participation would involve:

  • Answering an online questionnaires

  • Temperature and oxygen level measurement

  • Swabs of your nose and cell phone

  • Saliva collection

  • Blood sample collection

  • Exhaled breath samples collected while sitting in a booth, depending on the type of study visit.

You may be able to earn up to $325 by participating.

We may also ask you to give or email an informational flyer to your household contacts (people you live with or have regular contact with) so that we can test them to see if they have the infection as well. This will allow us to trace how the infection moves between people.

For more information on the specific parts of each study, see the consent forms linked below.

If you are a household contact of a case, we will follow you for up to 14 days from your last exposure to see if you become infected.

Your study participation will involve periodic visits in the study clinic every 2-3 days including:

  • Answering an online questionnaire

  • Temperature and oxygen level measurement

  • Swabs of your nose

  • Saliva collection

  • Blood collection

If you become infected with COVID-19, we will ask you to provide additional nasal swabs, saliva, blood, and breath samples.

You may be able to earn up to $125 by participating. If you get infected and come for more testing you can earn $300.

For more information on the specific parts of each study, see the consent forms linked below.

For workers and residents: you would be asked to complete a daily symptom questionnaire and temperature measurement and drop off a weekly saliva sample. You may also be able to participate in testing whether wearing a device paired to your cell phone via bluetooth that provides continuous biometric data can detect early signs of infection.