Concerns and adjustments: How the Portuguese population met COVID-19
PLoS ONE , Volume 15 - Issue 10
Background The COVID-19 pandemic has led to disruptive changes worldwide, with different implications across countries. The evolution of citizens’ concerns and behaviours over time is a central piece to support public policies.
Objective To unveil perceptions and behaviours of the Portuguese population regarding social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for more informed public policies.
Methods Online panel survey distributed in three waves between March 13th and May 6th 2020. Data collected from a non-representative sample of 7,448 respondents includes socio-demographic characteristics and self-reported measures on levels of concern and behaviours related to COVID-19. We performed descriptive analysis and probit regressions to understand relationships between the different variables.
Results Most participants (85%) report being at least very concerned with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and social isolation reached a high level of adherence during the state of emergency. Around 36% of the sample anticipated consumption decisions, stockpiling ahead of the state of emergency declaration. Medical appointments suffered severe consequences, being re-rescheduled or cancelled. We find important variation in concerns with the economic impact across activity sectors.
Conclusion We show that high level of concern and behaviour adaptation in our sample preceded the implementation of lockdown measures in Portugal around mid-March. One month later, a large share of individuals had suffered disruption in their routine health care and negative impacts in their financial status.