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University of Washington researchers studying well-being during coronavirus pandemic

UW researchers want to know how people are dealing with social isolation and the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

SEATTLE — Researchers at the University of Washington are studying the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and bans set in place by the government on King County residents. 

The King County COVID-19 Community Study will gather data through April 19 on how individuals and communities are coping with measures set in place to slow the spread of the virus. 

“We want to start collecting this information now — as the COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding — about how families and communities are being impacted, and how they are adapting,” said Nicole Errett, a lecturer in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, who is one of the leaders of the new study. “Our goal is to understand how individuals are dealing with these new and far-reaching public health response measures and document how communities are rising together to meet unprecedented challenges.”

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Any adult living in King County can participate in the study. The study consists of a questionnaire and an essay of up to a page in length. 

“The story that we’re asking each participant to submit is actually the central piece of the study,” said Errett. “We’re inviting participants to use their own words to share how they’re being impacted by the pandemic, and how they’re adapting and coping.”

Researchers will analyze the submitted stories to track common problems and displays of resilience. 

Researchers say the social-distancing measures set in place give them an opportunity to study their effects. 

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After urging people to limit their interactions with other people, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statewide order to stay at home on Wednesday, March 23. 

The order is in effect immediately for residents and will last at least two weeks.

People may still run imperative errands and go outside, such as walks and gardening, while maintaining a safe social distance from others. Only essential businesses may remain open to the public. 

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