Recently Funded

The following is a list of recently funded COVID-19 Quick Response Research. These were awarded as part of a Special Call for research on this global crisis. Within three months of completing data collection, researchers submit an abstract and 10-page report detailing their preliminary findings. Completed reports are available on the Quick Response Reports page.

COVID-19 Quick Response Research Awards


Enhancing Our Healthcare Heroes’ Overall Well-Being: Balancing Patient Health, Personal Risk, and Family Responsibilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Rachel Adams, University of Colorado Boulder
Haorui Wu, Dalhousie University

As the coronavirus spreads rapidly across the globe, healthcare professionals are working tirelessly to care for patients despite shortages in personal protective equipment and medical supplies. Current research rarely examines how healthcare workers balance patient care, personal risk, and family responsibilities during a pandemic. To address this gap, we use qualitative methods to measure holistic well-being among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study will identify specific challenges that healthcare workers face and inform recommendations for evidence-based emergency planning for pandemics. Ultimately, this research can enhance healthcare workers’ capacity to prepare for and respond to future public health emergencies.

Social Ties, Quarantine Policy, and the Spread of COVID-19

Daniel Aldrich, Northeastern University
Courtney Page-Tan, Embry-Riddle University
Juheon Lee, Midwestern State University
Tim Fraser, Northeastern University
Summer Marion, Northeastern University

The majority of COVID19 responses have been focused on individual medical interventions including social distancing and hand washing. Yet beyond individualized policies, regional and institutional factors such as social ties, health care capacity, and mobility may be core drivers in stopping (or accelerating) infection. Some cities—such as San Francisco, New York, and Boston—moved rapidly to close schools and restaurants while others—such as Dallas, and Orlando—did not. We will conduct a multilevel investigation with individual level data from 4 neighborhoods in Boston and New York City along with city-level data from 18 cities.

Does the Public Ignore Information from Female Governors Tackling the COVID-19 Pandemic?: A Survey Experiment of Gender Differences in Public Risk Perception and Risk Protection Behavior

Sebawit Bishu, University of Colorado Denver

Preparedness during public health crises heavily depends on public leaders’ effective communication. Outcomes of effective communication and leadership influence is also shaped by socially constructed gender role-expectations that attribute instrumental leadership qualities to men. The current COVID-19 outbreak offers a natural experiment setting to study if leadership gender bias conflicts with public leaders’ effective communication. This study aims to examine if public leader’s gender explains systemic differences in the public’s risk perception and protective actions. In addition, it examines message design as a possible avenue to mitigate leadership gender bias.

Resilience of Social Capital Networks to Social Distancing: Multiscale Evolution of Physical and Virtual Support Networks

Elisa Borowski, Northwestern University
Amanda Stathopoulos, Northwestern University

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in statewide stay-at-home orders across 30 states at present. The proposed research will examine the effects of distancing measures on physical and virtual social capital networks at the individual-, community-, and organizational-level in the United States. By analyzing data from an online name generator survey, crowdsourcing platforms, and telephone interviews using choice modeling, social network analysis, and qualitative descriptive analysis, the findings of this study will provide valuable insights into social isolation vulnerabilities, the potential for virtual volunteering to fill gaps in support networks, and the long-term impacts of disruptions to social capital.

Family Farm Resilience and Challenges Under COVID-19 Containment Measures in North Carolina

Sara Brune, North Carolina State University
Olivia Vila, North Carolina State University
Danielle Lawson, North Carolina State University
Whitney Knollenberg, North Carolina State University

This study will examine family farmers’ challenges, adaptive capacity, and resilience to operate under the COVID-19 crisis. Family farms are central to sourcing local food systems, supporting local economies, and securing access to fresh and nutritious food to communities. Using a longitudinal qualitative research design, family farms will be interviewed at three points in time to understand their evolving adaptive strategies to overcome the COVID-19 crisis. The findings of this study will inform future policies and strategies to help reduce the vulnerability of family farms as well as the vulnerability of local food systems and local economies.

Health and Social Consequences of Food Environment Disruption Due to COVID-19

Laura Clay, New York University
Britta Heath, D’Youville College

Food insecurity is associated with higher rates of infection, mental health problems, and chronic conditions. Alleviating limited access to food that arises during disasters is the focus of recovery efforts, however there is limited evidence on which to build effective interventions for meeting community food needs. This research will characterize the impact of COVID-19 on food access, availability, sources, and security, identify risk and protective factors for food insecurity, describe how individuals are improvising to meet their food needs when pandemic risk necessarily requires social distancing, and contribute to refining a Socio-ecological Model of the Disaster Food Environment for pandemics.

Feeding Families in COVID-19-Quarantined Wuhan: Intersectional Adaptations to a Disaster

Jane Henrici, George Washington University
Aojie Ju, George Washington University

Wuhan, China in November 2019 was the site of the first confirmed COVID-19 case; following that, between the end of January through March 2020, the city and surrounding Hubei province were under lockdown by the Chinese government. Original mixed-methods research, conducted online with persons quarantined during the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, will provide insights into the adaptation strategies of a gendered and otherwise segmented economy within a mega-city population facing the compounded challenges of a pandemic and blockade on top of preexisting environmental conditions. The analysis for this project will inform economic, health, and social disaster response and climate action.

College Students and the COVID-19 Crisis: Evaluating Psychological Impacts and the Formation of Purpose and Meaning During a Disaster

Betty Lai, Boston College
Belle Liang, Boston College

Responding to the COVID-19 disaster, U.S. colleges have rapidly cancelled in-person classes, displacing students and causing psychological, financial, and social distress. Ensuring that college students are able to complete their degrees when faced with disasters has enormous economic and public health benefits. Students who complete their degrees earn more, are healthier, and happier. Supporting educational continuity for students is critical for substantially reducing risks and losses post-disaster. Yet, we have limited evidence to guide disaster recovery efforts for college students. Filling this evidence gap, the project will assess college student and faculty/advisor experiences during the COVID-19 disaster.

Gauging Economic Resilience at the Epicenter of a Pandemic: The Impact of NYC’s COVID-19 Response on Minority and Women-Owned Businesses in Select Commercial Districts

Vanessa Leon, New York University

The borough of Queens is currently the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, NYC’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS) completed six Commercial District Needs Assessments (CDNAs) in to better understand the dynamics that shape the vitality of its small businesses and commercial corridors. This study evaluates the impact of the COVID-19 response on two of these neighborhoods, each with a foreign-born population of over 60 percent, in order to assess the economic resilience of uniquely vulnerable small business owners.

Energy Justice and Coronavirus Vulnerability: Identifying Risk, Household Needs, and Policies for Mitigating COVID-19 Stress on Energy Security in the US

Adam Mayer, Colorado State University
Stacia Ryder, Colorado State University
Jen Dickie, University of Sterling

Through an interdisciplinary, mixed-method research project we aim to understand (1) how energy injustice and fuel poverty may influence Coronavirus vulnerability, and (2) how policy responses to Coronavirus may exacerbate or alleviate issues of inequality in energy access and availability. Given the long-term shelter-in-place orders coupled with essential energy needs for treating COVID-19, the Coronavirus pandemic makes the connections between energy, poverty, disaster vulnerability, and risk mitigation more visible. To explore these connections and inform disaster energy policies, we engage in secondary data analysis, GIS mapping, social media surveying, local government surveys and policy analysis.

Exploring the Experiences of University Students Evicted from On-Campus Housing During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An International Comparison

Marla Perez-Lugo, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Cecilio Ortiz-Garcia, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Haorui Wu, Dalhousie University
Frances Gonzalez, RISE
Adriana Castillo, RISE

Many universities have closed their campus residences since the COVID-19 pandemia started. The consequences may be staggering for international/out-of-state students, a vulnerable but often neglected population. Their evictions may also impact the public’s health due to an increase in air travel. We document and compare the experiences and coping strategies of evicted international/out-of-state university students in the US and Canada. The relevance of this research to disaster studies is that it sheds light into the universities’ organizational responses to disasters, and how these converge to impact its internal and external populations.

Dynamic Risk Perception and Behavior in Response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID 19)

Hua Qin, University of Missouri-Columbia
Christine Sanders, University of Missouri-Columbia
Yanu Prasetyo, University of Missouri-Columbia

Despite the inherent dynamic nature of risk events, the temporal dimension of risk perception and behavior has been understudied in the current risk science literature. Considering the continuous global spread of the new coronavirus, we propose to examine the dynamic risk perception and behavior in response to this disease in four major US cities. Timely data will be collected through multiple methods including public health records, news media analysis, and a series of online surveys. This research can contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of risk perception and behavior, and directly support the development of epidemic management strategies.

Gendered Experiences of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Rachel Rinaldo, University of Colorado Boulder

This study seeks to begin investigating the gendered consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. It will investigate how the pandemic is affecting the gendered division of household labor among families with children under 18. The study will use an online survey and in-depth interviews with men and women who have children under 18 in order to understand their experiences.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Businesses and Workers during COVID-19: Recovery, Resilience, and Loss

Vivian Shaw, Harvard University
Jason Beckfield, Harvard University
Cynthia Wang, California State University, Los Angeles
Mu Wu, California State University, Los Angeles

This pilot study will examine the economic and social consequences of COVID-19 as they intersect with questions of racial stigma and racial violence that disproportionately affects AAPI, an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse demographic that nonetheless frequently shares overlapping experiences of racism and xenophobia across multiple ethnic categories. We will conduct a general survey and interview small businesses owners, gig economy workers, low-wage laborers in “essential industries,” individuals working in intimate labor, and healthcare and other paid care workers. We will also interview members of community-based organizations that are mobilizing to support AAPI businesses and workers disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Exploring the Effects of COVID-19 on Quality of Life of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Direct Support Professionals

Erin Vinoski Thomas, Georgia State University

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (PWIDD) face unique risks during emergencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, direct support professionals (DSPs) who support individuals with disabilities may also face substantial risks. To understand how the pandemic has impacted quality of life (QoL) outcomes among PWIDD and DSPs, we propose a rapid mixed methods investigation to assess changes in QoL among PWIDD and DSPs in the US (N = 68). Findings will inform the development of policies and best practices that support PWIDD and DSPs in similar infectious disease emergencies.

Trajectories of Psychological Functioning and Pandemic Preparedness for Students Quarantined During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Marcela Weber, The University of Mississippi
Jeffery Pavlacic, The University of Mississippi
Victoria Torres, The University of Mississippi
Stefan Schulenberg, The University of Mississippi
Erin Buchanan, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

This study will examine factors contributing to resilient and symptomatic trajectories such as social support and meaning in life, among students quarantined in campus housing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Similarly, we will assess the role of self-efficacy, collective, efficacy, and threat perception for predicting pandemic-prepared trajectories. We will collect weekly data as the pandemic unfolds, to measure how resilient and prepared trajectories evolve over time. With a sample of predominantly international students, we will also compare the effects of secondary stressors from COVID-19 such as discrimination against Asians.

Invisible Variables: Personal Security Among Vulnerable Populations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Danielle Wood, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Katlyn Turner, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The rapid spread of COVID-19 requires decision-makers to act quickly to reduce the risk of disease spread. The adverse impacts of government-mandated social distancing measures on individuals are generally unknown. Vulnerable populations, such as low-income individuals, face unique challenges managing their safety, economic means, and autonomy in response to the policies implemented on local levels to curb the spread of COVID-19. This proposal aims to understand the invisible variables that contribute to vulnerable individual’s personal security during the hardships imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and institutional response.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Parental Stress and Young Children’s Development During Self-Isolation

Chenyi Zhang, Georgia State University
Wei Qiu, Weber State University

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a large number of parents with young children do not receive childcare and parenting support due to the closure of childcare services and self-isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To identify the common stressors that parents experience during a pandemic outbreak, and investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic may have an impact on parent-child relationships over time, this study employs an online-questionnaire method (Qualtrics) to collect longitudinal self-reported data from parents on their parenting stress and child behaviors and quality of parent-child relationship. Parents' socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds are considered when investigating the impact.

The Quick Response Research Grant Program is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF Award #1635593). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or the Natural Hazards Center.