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2. Our research into COVID-19

As we did in the first year of the pandemic, we conducted a lot of research about COVID-19 in 2021, including its impact on people and society. Here is an overview of publications on this subject in 2021 to which Radboud researchers contributed.

Research into self-testing

In April, Radboud University and HAN University of Applied Sciences launched a pilot involving rapid self-tests for students. Those who tested negative would be allowed to attend lectures on campus. 400 students signed up for the pilot, which was also carried out in other student cities. This was part of an investigation by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science into the best options for in-person education in the new academic year.

Inequality in the job market

Measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus reinforced inequalities in the job market. This is evident from a theme issue of Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsvraagstukken (Labour Issues Journal), which compiled the results of some initial scientific studies on the effects of the coronavirus measures. The measures reinforced inequalities like unequal valuation of professions, unequal insecurity, unequal physical and mental risks and unequal distribution of care tasks.

Coronavirus strains family relationships

When combined with uncertainty about the future, work pressure and potential illness or financial worries, stress at home can increase significantly, according to the preliminary results of research by Esther Kluwer, professor by special appointment at Radboud University. Kluwer investigated the impact of the pandemic on Dutch relationships and families. Utrecht University and professional organisations for relationship and family therapy also participated in the research.

Additional health damage caused by inactivity

Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that people took around 11% fewer steps each day during the first wave of the pandemic. This means that coronavirus is causing extra health damage, given the scientific consensus on the major impact of inactivity on health. 26 diseases and disorders are partly caused by insufficient exercise, including cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.

Fathers are playing a greater role in households

The pandemic has had a major effect on the work and home situations of Dutch families with children. That emerged from research conducted by sociologists from Radboud University, Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam. It appears that fathers have taken on more household and care-related tasks since the pandemic began. At the same time, mothers have experienced more work pressure and have still taken on most of the household and care-related tasks

Decrease in GP visits

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a substantial decrease in GP visits in 2020 by patients with chronic physical health problems in Nijmegen and the surrounding area. The number of in-person visits by patients with mental health problems also decreased, although the demand for them remained the same. That was shown in research from Radboud university medical center published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Small charities hit hard by COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 on the charitable sector in the Netherlands in 2020 varied greatly between organisations. Of the 317 certified charities that responded to a survey, half reported a loss of income in 2020 because of COVID-19. The smallest organisations were hit hardest: they lost an average of 13.4% in income compared to 2019. That was shown in research  conducted by Radboud University and the Netherlands Fundraising Regulator (CBF) that officially recognises charities.