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Have thoughts about coronavirus? Share them in a large Stanford survey

The Stanford Coronavirus Study is investigating how the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting people's lives. It is open to new participants.

Eleni Linos, MD, DrPH, a dermatologist and epidemiologist at Stanford, is leading a large-scale survey to evaluate the changing ways that the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting people's lives.

Launched on March 14, the survey has garnered about 20,000 responses -- about half of which were submitted before California's order to shelter-in-place on March 19.

Now, Linos and her colleagues have expanded the questionnaire to include questions more pertinent to the current state of the pandemic and topics of interest to the global research community.

"We want to capture how the coronavirus crisis is affecting people's lives around the world -- what changes and decisions are they are making, and what they need from their governments and their employers to make this situation work," Linos said. "This is an incredibly challenging time and this crisis is affecting different people differently. We'd like to hear from young people, older people and those of various geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds."

People who responded to the first survey are encouraged to also fill out the updated survey, which should take no more than ten minutes to complete. Respondents do not need to live in the United States.

"The idea is to then rapidly disseminate this knowledge to help policy makers make good decisions informed by data," Linos said.

When Linos launched the study the first week of March with colleagues in dermatology, she was interested in learning how people were responding to the coronavirus crisis and whether they would want remote doctor visits.

Quickly, they realized that people wanted to share much more than that: how they were feeling both physically and emotionally; their worry levels; what actions they were taking; whether they were self-isolating prior to the shelter in place order. At the same time, scientists in multiple other departments and at different universities were interested in collaborating. Linos is collaborating closely with colleagues from Stanford's Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, and Social Media Lab.

"This has been a tremendously collaborative effort where scientists from all over Stanford have come together," Linos said. "There is so much enthusiasm, and that is wonderful to see." 

The updated questions include several meant to better understand the mental health and other social and financial impacts of shelter in place orders and others about a respondent's physical health and their access to COVID-19 testing. They also explore challenges they may face in following recommendations meant to slow the spread of the virus.

"We'd also like people to tell us about any positive effects, or silver linings of the current situation," Linos said, noting that some people have said they enjoy the increased time spent with family members and the opportunity to spend less time commuting.

"We want to share this as quickly as we can with the community in order to help people," Linos said.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes

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