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Corona Citizens Science Project - Wave 4 Results


About 21% of the people recall a severe flu in the last winter, with symptoms that would now be considered COVID-19. Most of these were reported for December 39% and January 27%, while 21% reported it in February, 9% in November and 5% in October. In relation to the flu, 35% got the flu vaccine last winter (920), and 57% intent to get it this winter (1491).

If a COVID-19 vaccine would become available, 59% (1543) say they will get it, 32% (842) maybe and 8% not. If antibody testing would be available, 48% (1258) would do this immediately and 44% (1150) if medically indicated, while 7% (189) do not want an antibody test.

The number of people who report flu-like symptoms dropped again (only 50) and was not 2% (previously 2,5%, 3% and 6% in the first wave). The main symptoms reported are shifting a little, tired/exhaustion 60% (previously 66%), sore throat 40% (previously 48%), dry/throaty cough 26% (previously 28% and in April 38%), runny nose 46% (previously 32%  down from 37% in April) and/or muscle pain 27% (previously 32 down from 38% in April). The increase in runny nose symptoms may be more indicative of allergies however. Similarly, of the people they live with, this time 13%, slightly up from 10% previously, but down from 17% in April). Of the people with flu-like symptoms, less people think it is corona, 26% (41% to 48% previously), and 30% contact their GP (42% to 53% previously).

Tele-consultation and delaying treatment

Over the past months, 25% of the participants (643) has held a tele-consultation with their GP, 81% for non-COVID related and 19% for COVID related symptoms. Most people found it effective (67% or 433), but 17% (107) were not sure and 16% (102) did not find it an effective way of communication. The number of people who have postponed medical treatment or check-ups remained the same as previous waves at about 31%. Mainly because the healthcare professional is not seeing any patients at the moment (52%, previous 56% and 55%), 36% (previous 32 % and 39%) say they don’t want to create an extra burden, and 24%  (previous 23% and 26%) is worried about the risk of catching COVID-19.

The postponed treatment is mainly GP appointments (previous 36% and 48%)), dental treatment (42%, previously 35%), and routine check-ups (40%, previously 36%), but surgery and psychological consultations have also been indicated for 7% (previously 5%).

Government’s phased plan

About half of the respondents feel the government is balancing well between Covid-19 restrictions and other considerations such as other public health, societal & economic wellbeing (48% of people give an 8 or higher on the scale of 10), the median mark given was a 7. 17% of people feel that the government is taking too much risk, but most people give this a 5, neither too much nor too little).

About 30% of the people (777) are you becoming more careful (>=8) about going out and adhering to restrictions, while most people are more or less the same (5 on a scale of 10). And if there was a next wave, 85% (222) indicate they will adhere to restrictions again (>=8).

Face masks are worn by 52% (1373) of people, more likely to be older. In the under 25 age group, 40% compared to 75% in the over 65 age group. If they do not wear a face mask (1224), 73% indicate they will wear a face mask if this means reducing distancing from 2 meters to one meter.

Most people say they never broken any restrictions (53%, 1373), while 44% occasionally, and 3% regularly.

Sexual relationships, exercise, drinking and smoking habits

Sexual relationships have not been affected by COVID-19 for 73% of the respondents, but 10% indicate better and 18% worse relationships. The negative impact on sexual relationships is especially felt by younger age groups with the under 25 age group indicating 42% and the 25-35 29%. Of respondents who smoke (12% or 308), they indicate they smoked more 46% while 18% smokes less. Drinking habits changed for 50% of the people who do drink (2113) and 28% indicate to drink more while 22% drink less. Exercise has increased for 40% (1033) of the people, 24% (632) exercise less and 36% of respondents have put on weight, while 13% lost some.

Anxiety and tension in the household

About a third of the respondents do not worry at all about coming out of lock-down and like to see this happen as soon as possible (31%, 797) and this is similar in all age groups. 39% of respondents are concerned, because of catching COVID-19, 12% because of infecting others and 4% because they have developed social anxiety. The under 25 age group is much more likely to have developed such social anxiety (17%) while the older age groups are more worried about catching COVID-19 (up to 51% in the over 65).

Tensions in the household are have remained more or less the same as both previous waves, much more tension compared to usual is recorded in about 8-10% of the households and a little more in a quarter of the households.

About 58% (1488) respondents indicate to be more or even much more anxious which was 61% in the previous wave while 10% (previously 8%) indicate to be less anxious. The anxiety is mainly due to the worry of catching the virus (70%, previously 78%), while 35% (previously 37%) also indicate worry about other health problems, 34% (previously 33%) about the relaxation of restrictions, 25% (previously 26%) about their finances or their business. Relatively more people worry about working from home, 31% (previously 24%) and 29% (24%) about their child’s schooling.

Wave 4, as previous ones, did not show major changes in either mental health or well-being compared to the previous waves and remained very stable within age groups and male/females. The impact of the pandemic on well-being and mental health would appear to be greater for younger as compared to older people. Compared to the Healthy Ireland Survey of 2016, it seems that the pandemic has had a negative impact on well-being and mental health.


Work from home

Most people were employed, 69%  while, similar to last times, students made up 4%, and homemakers 8% but a higher percentage of retired respondents 12%.

Of the people who were in employment (1923), 61% are currently working from home. Similar to previous, 20% indicated to be an essential worker (slightly higher than previous with 381 respondents).

Of the people who were in employment and working from home (1180), 23% indicated to want to continue working from home, but most (60%) would like a combination of on site and working form home. Work life balance for people who were working (1780) was equally divided between worse, a bit worse, the same, a bit better and much better, each about 20%.

About 15% are worried about being made redundant, younger age groups more so than older.

Children and students

There were 68% respondents with children (1753), and they felt their child(ren) suffered a bit 47% and a lot (33%) due to the lack of social interaction. 68% (747) indicated they would send their child to school if schools would reopen tomorrow. Of the parents who need childcare in September (602), 44% do not have any arrangement in place yet.

In relation to college, if they or their child intended to start college in September, most are still going ahead with this plan (71%), while 17% have not decided yet and 6% intent to defer due to uncertainty.


A total of 2,620 people responded in the fourth wave.

In this fourth wave, 12% of people who responded were living alone (same as previous waves), and a 24% of them didn’t talk to anyone the day previous (which is down from about 33% in the other waves). Talking FTF with more than 3 people increased to about 50%, which is more than any previous wave (around 20% in the previous waves).

Less people are cocooning (7%), which was previously around 13%.

Their mean age was 47, median 47, which was similar to the other surveys. About 22% of respondents were male and 77% female, again similar to the other waves where we also saw the number of females much higher than males.

Age groups were well represented, with about 54% of the people between 35 and 54, 5% under the age of 25 and 10% were 65 or older. Education remained high, 70% had a university degree, which was similar in the previous waves.

Dublin had the higher number of respondents with 28% (previous 43%, 41% and 38%) and Galway 28% (previously 16%, 14% and 12%, Cork 7% (previous 8%, 7% and 6%) and all other counties were represented at less than 5%.


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.

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

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