Nursing student Ben Stephens receives his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from fellow nursing student Devin Jellish at Nicholas Recreation Center on the UW campus last week. Ruthie Hauge / Cap Times
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Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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A new U.S. Centers for Disease Control study found that two masks are better than one in blocking the spread of coronavirus particles. 

“The researchers found that wearing one mask — surgical or cloth — blocked around 40% of the particles coming toward the head that was breathing in. When a cloth mask was worn on top of a surgical mask, about 80% were blocked,” the Associated Press’ Mike Stobbe reports. 

Researchers say finding the right mask fit remains crucial, Stobbe reports, and the CDC’s updated mask guidance notes that wearing a disposal mask beneath a cloth mask can provide extra protection and a good fit. 

Top Stories 

Nursing student Ben Stephens receives his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from fellow nursing student Devin Jellish at Nicholas Recreation Center on the UW campus last week. Ruthie Hauge / Cap Times

Progress in driving COVID-19 numbers down in Wisconsin could be ‘undone’ by new variants Cap Times 

CDC study finds two masks are better than one vs. COVID-19 Associated Press 

Poor ventilation in multifamily buildings may lessen benefit of staying at home to avoid COVID  FairWarning 

Wisconsin Supreme Court asked to block statewide mask order Associated Press 

Wisconsin Republicans direct $66 million in aid to schools holding in-person classes Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Madison Public Schools to bring students back to classrooms starting March 9 WPR 

Kenosha County launches COVID-19 vaccine call center Kenosha News 

Wisconsin politicians are asking Wauwatosa, West Allis and Milwaukee schools to have ‘entirely’ in-person learning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

What are we missing? And how are you coping? Help us provide critical information and accountability by filling out this form or emailing us at


“Our health department’s phones are ringing off the hook, and they can’t tell people when we’re going to have vaccines. … It’s the lack of information from the state that is just handcuffing everybody and making this whole thing a joke.”

— Franklin Mayor Steve Olson, commenting to WPR about information surrounding vaccine distribution

“The concern about the variants really underscores the urgency with which we need to act to stop the spread of this virus. … The more people who get it, the more opportunities for the virus to mutate and to potentially gain attributes that we don’t want to see, like increased severity or reduced susceptibility to vaccine.”

 — Jennifer Nuzzo, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, speaking to NPR

Data to note

The Department of Health Services continues to log fewer daily infections, with average daily cases now dipping below 1,000. Still, the agency reports a seven-day average of 25 new daily deaths. Wisconsin’s pandemic death toll now sits at 6,129. 

Public health officials continue to urge Wisconsinites to wear masks and practice physical distancing until vaccinations are more widely distributed. 

WisContext offers this visualization of Wisconsin COVID-19 infections and deaths.

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Meanwhile, Wisconsin has thus far delivered at least one vaccine dose to 10.6% of the entire population, according to tracking by The New York Times.  

Here is Wisconsin Watch’s county-by-county look at the state’s vaccine rollout as of Feb. 5. We’ll update this map weekly. 

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Calculate your exposure risk

In Wisconsin, even small gatherings can carry a big risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to a nationwide tool that estimates the danger by the size of gathering and county in which it is held. Data scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University developed the tool, which you can find here

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us:

Super Bowl trip was a much-needed break for Bellin Health workers Green Bay Press-Gazette 

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The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism ( collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

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