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Centre for Statistics (CENSTAT) : project R-10898

Title : A framework for repetitive large-scale citizen science surveys to inform health policy quickly during different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic (R-10898)
Abstract: In order to suppress or mitigate the COVID-19 – or any similar future - pandemic, both speed and broad population engagement are key. This project aims to collect timely information on behavioural change (voluntary or enforced by government), symptoms, workforce participation and telework, postponed treatment for non-COVID-19 related disease, as well as its psychological and social impact. We do this by setting up a large scale weekly online survey, allowing us to study evolutions over time as well as patterns in the large sets of data obtained (thus far 1 in 6 people in Flanders participated in at least one of the 6 survey waves). We use a great diversity of advanced statistical techniques to analyse the data generated, and share our insights directly with policy makers and the general public. This information directly informs policy making and partly feeds into mathematical models predicting the evolution of the pandemic under various scenarios, and can partly also be used to estimate its economic and social impact. Drawing from this experience, for future COVID-19 waves or other pandemics we aim to set up a lasting framework to obtain quickly reliable information that is representative of the general population. We also want to establish a lasting database, that enables researchers of various disciplines to use as study material in years to come.
Period of project : 22/05/2020to21/05/2021

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