Coronavirus Banner

Corona Citizens Science Project - Wave 3 Results

Government's Phased Plan

The Government’s phased plan for the lifting of restrictions announced last week received an eight or higher (on a scale of 10) from 72% of respondents. This indicates that the majority of respondents understood the plan. However, respondents reported less clarity as to when people could go back to work (55% gave an 8 or higher) or when businesses they needed would open up again (56%).

When asked how easily people felt they were able to comply with restrictions, 78% gave an 8 or higher (10 being very easy to comply) for the 5km travel restriction, 74% for working from home and 78% gave an 8 or higher for maintaining social distancing.

Tracking App

Respondents were asked if they would install a tracking app, if this would become available, and 84% indicated they would. Males were however less likely to do so compared to females (15 v 18%). People who said they would not install such an app, rated the governmental phase plan consistently lower on and this was similar to the questions on how easy/difficult it would be to comply to the restrictions.


Flu-like symptoms were reported by 2.5% of people, down from 3% of respondents in the last wave and 6% in the first wave. The main symptoms reported remain the same across the waves, tired/exhaustion (66%), sore throat (48%), dry/throaty cough (28%, down from 38%), runny nose (32 down from 37%) and/or muscle pain (32 down from 38%). Similarly, of the people they live with, this time 10% of respondents reported that these people had flu-like symptoms, which was down from 11% in the second wave and 17% previously. We are probably seeing the continued impact of social distancing.

A decrease in the length of duration of symptoms was reported in this wave as compared to previously. Whereas in the first wave 21% had symptoms for up to 3 days, this increased to 31% in the second and 42% in the third wave, while 55% of people had symptoms for 7 days or more in the first wave, dropping to 36% in the second wave, and 37% in the third wave.

Of the people with flu-like symptoms, less people think it is COVID-19 (41%) compared to previously (48%), but only 47% (110) contacted their GP (previously 42% and 53%). Levels of virus testing remained similar to earlier waves. This time 31% indicated to be referred for testing (27% and 36% previously). These tests were positive for 13%, negative for 51%, waiting for results were 19% and waiting for the tests were 12%. Changes in the outcome of testing can be seen, less positive tests compared to two weeks ago (10% versus 25%), but an increase in respondents waiting for a test (previously 5%). In the first wave 10% was positive and most people were still waiting for results (36%) or the test (37%).

About 31% (2,650) of people have postponed medical treatment check-ups, similar to the last wave. The main reasons were because healthcare professionals were not seeing any patients at the moment (56%, previous 55%), while 32% (previous 39%) say they don’t want to create an extra burden, and 23% (previous 26%) is worried about the risk of catching COVID-19.

Of these patients, 36% (previous 48%) postponed a consultation with the GP. This reduction may show people are picking up the encouragement in the press not to postpone such appointments.  Appointments with another primary care professional were postponed by 15% of patients. About 14% had a hospital medical examination postponed (same as last time) and 7% (previous 6%) an operation. Dental appointments (35%), check-ups (36%), counselling (5%) and diabetic clinics (2.4%) were the main other delayed medical appointments.

Tensions in the Household and Anxiety

Tensions in the household remained more or less the same as both previous waves. However, much more tension was reported compared to usual in about 8-10% of the households.

About 61% (5,300) respondents indicate that they were more or much more anxious (14%) since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic while 8% indicate to be less anxious. The anxiety is mainly due to the worry that they or their family may catch the virus (78%), while 37% also indicate worry about other health problems, 33% about the relaxation of restrictions, 26% about their finances or their business and 24% about working from home or their child’s schooling. Females are more often anxious/very anxious (64%) compared to males (51%), and people caring for others also show higher anxiety levels (66% v 59%), however, cocooners do not have higher anxiety levels.

This survey again, did not show major changes in either mental health or well-being compared to the first or the second waves. The impact of the pandemic on well-being and mental health would appear to be greater for younger as compared to older people. This may be explained by the fact that younger people are likely to have experienced a much greater change in day-to-day living than those in the older population. Compared to the Healthy Ireland Survey of 2016, it seems that the pandemic has had a negative impact on well-being and mental health.

Child Care and Home Schooling

Childcare arrangements stayed similar. Of preschool children (about 1,000), 87% were taken care at home. However, when looking at differences between non-essential and essential workers, 93% were taken care of at home compared to 68% of the essential workers. Essential workers have to rely more often on childminders (18%, up from 10% previously), family (12%) and Grandparents (4%), compared to non-essential workers (respectively 4%, 3% and 1%).

There were over 1,500 parents with children in primary school, Most children, 29% have daily contact with their school teacher, while 21% 2-3 times a week and 47% once or less often each week. For 3% of children there is no contact with their primary school teacher. For secondary school parents (about 2,600), 64% of under15 and 54% of over 15 year olds had daily contact with their teacher. 25% and 2*% respectively 2-3 times a week, and 11% and 18% once a week or less often.

Working from Home

Most people were employed, 63% (previously 69%), while, similar to last times, students made up 4%, and homemakers 7% but a higher percentage of retired respondents 19% (previously 13%).

Of the people who were in employment (5,420), 56% is currently working from home every day, while 20% on some days and 14%. In the previous rounds, about 45% worked from home. Similar to previous, 15% indicated to be an essential worker (about 1,400 respondents).

Walking remains the most popular leisure activity (93%). Indoor exercise is done by about 53% of respondents, 29% play board games, 64% do some sort of gardening and 38% got busy with DIY.

Compared to last time, more people are chatting in open air (69 compared to 63% and 54% previously).


A total of 8,700 people responded in the third wave and 35% had participated in the first wave and 40% in the second. Over the three waves, 150,000 responses were recorded.

Their mean age was 50, median 52, which was higher than both previous surveys. About 25% of respondents were male and 71% female, which was the same as in the first wave but lower than the second wave when 29% of respondents were male.

Age groups were well represented, with about 54% of the people between 35 and 54, 4% under the age of 25 and 16% were 65 or older. This older age group is better represented than previously waves of the survey  (11% previously). The level of educational achievement of respondents remained high, 65% had a university degree, which was similar in the previous waves.

Dublin had the higher number of respondents with 43% (previous 41% and 38%) and Galway 16% (previously 14% and 12%, Cork 8% (previous 7% and 6%) and all other counties were represented at less than 5%.

In this third wave, 12% of people who responded were living alone, and a third of them didn’t talk to anyone the day previous. Talking face-to-face with more than 3 people decreased and was 14% in this wave as compared to around 20% in the previous waves.

Most people were employed, 63% (previously 69%), while, similar to last times, students made up 4%, and homemakers 7% but a higher percentage of retired respondents 19% (previously 13%).

There were 13% of people cocooning and 34% took on additional caring responsibilities since the COVID crisis, which was similar to the last wave.

About the Survey

Research teams at Dublin City University, NUI Galway and the Insight SFI Centre for Data Analytics (NUI Galway) have worked together on this population-wide survey to find out about the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the associated restrictive measures (lockdown, social distancing) on daily life in Ireland. This is the third wave or running of this survey, carried out on 6 May 2020.

  Dublin City University Logo
 ‌Insight Centre Logo  

You Can Help

Thanks to everyone who took part to help us understand how the restrictive measures are impacting you.

Survey Closed


This study is being conducted by researchers from NUI Galway & Dublin City University in partnership with the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics.