BACKGROUND: Worldwide, many people have been affected by COVID-19, a novel respiratory illness, caused by a new type of coronavirus SARS-CoV2 . The COVID-19 outbreak is considered a pandemic and has created a number of challenges for the general population, patients, and healthcare professionals . Lockdowns have been implemented to slow down the spread of the virus with the expectation that these restrictions will limit the number of cases, and hence the number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions . However, these restrictions, and in particular lockdowns, impact on the life of everyone living in Ireland .
AIM: To record how the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictive measures impacted on people's activities, work, schooling, and childcare .
METHODS: The Corona Citizens' Science Project was set up as a population-wide survey . A questionnaire was designed, and the survey was first launched on the 8th of April 2020 . An overview of results was released in the press days later . Data was collected in four waves: April 8, April 22, May 6, and June 17 , 2020 . Each wave had core questions allowing to compare each wave, and wave-specific questions, to understand current impact of changing measures .
RESULTS: Over four waves , 152,259 responses were collected . The mean age of respondents was 47 with about 10% over the age of 65 . Around 75% were female and 85% had a higher degree . Nearly 70% of the respondents were in employment, and around 13% were retired . Up to 20% of the respondents were essential workers, and 10% of respondents indicated they were in receipt of the COVID-19 pandemic unemployment payment . Around 10% of the people who responded were living alone . The number of people talked to the previous day was on average 2.3 in the first survey; during the lockdown, this went up over time, and in the last survey, the mean was 3.9 . The percentage of respondents who did not talk to anyone the previous day decreased from 40 to 22% over the waves . In the first wave, about 6% of respondents reported having had flu-like symptoms in the last 14 days, which declined to 3.3% , 2.5%, and 2.0% in waves 2 , 3, and 4 respectively . Similarly, over the four waves, the respondents who indicated that someone they lived with had flu-like symptoms declined from 17 to 12% , 9%, and 11% . Throughout the four waves, nearly one third of people reported one or more underlying conditions .
CONCLUSIONS: As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of restrictive measures, in particular lockdown, were implemented in Ireland to protect populations and healthcare systems . To record some of the major impacts on society, we launched a Corona Citizens Science Project, with the aim to support decision-making . This report provides detail of its findings.
Index: COVID-19, Corona crisis, National survey, SARS-CoV2