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Sandra van Dulmen
Christine Leyns


In the beginning of 2020, the world turned into a dangerous place for all; the outbreak of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (shortly: COVID-19) seemingly affected all persons alike. Seemingly, the impact of the infection and the way it was treated differed markedly between people and countries. As a result, COVID-19 made many victims, disproportionately among older aged, the poor, ethnic minorities [1], and people with preexisting medical conditions like diabetes [2] or a recently diagnosed mental disorder [3]. These people appeared to have a higher risk of mortality. Beside the risk of infection, the COVID-19 outbreak impacted the whole population, resulting in heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and stress [4] both directly through the virus threat [5] as indirectly through loss of income [6] and social contact [7]. Although the pandemic had—and still has—a severe impact on the mental and physical health of those who were infected or at risk of being infected, people do seem to differ in the extent their lives were and are influenced by the infection. Recently, for instance, Bonenkamp et al investigated the mental health of 177 dialysis patients before and during the COVID-19 pandemic [8]. Their study showed that the mental health experienced by this group of patients was unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The conclusion of the authors was that “dialysis patients may be better able to cope with the pandemic since they have high resilience and are less impacted by social distancing measures.” An alternative interpretation could, however, be that the mental health of people who undergo such an invasive treatment is already quite poor and might not be able to get any lower (floor effect). Nevertheless, as shown by the following quote of a young, chronically ill patient, individual persons differ in the way they cope with the pandemic:

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