“Diaries of a Pandemic”: the first results are already available

The newspaper PÚBLICO released the results of the first week of the “Diaries of a Pandemic”. Between March 23 and 30, researchers from INESC TEC and the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto (ISPUP) analysed 23,254 questionnaires, completed by 6,791 people. The participants provided information about how they act according to a set of situations that may influence the course of the epidemic in Portugal.

INESC TEC and ISPUP, in partnership with the newspaper PÚBLICO, launched the initiative “Diaries of a Pandemic” to understand the dynamics of citizens’ adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic in Portugal.

This study began on March 23, and citizens are invited to answer a set of question on a daily basis, which will help understanding the evolution in the lives of Portuguese people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results cover four dimensions: test, diagnosis and symptoms; use of healthcare services and search for information; risky interactions and day-to-day activities

Older people are the ones who leave their house more often – and for no reason

Regarding the number of contacts outside their household (five or more people), men from the 40-59 age group reported the highest frequency. However, concerning close contact (less than two meters, for at least 15 minutes, and with five or more people) the trend was inverted and women in the 40-59 and 60+ age groups reported the highest occurrence.

Leaving home for other reasons (Image: PÚBLICO)
Leaving home for other reasons (Image: PÚBLICO)


“An interesting thing, which I was not expecting, is the fact that people belonging to the 60+ age group are the ones who leave home without a particular reason, like going for a walk or walking the dog“, said Henrique Barros, president of ISPUP. Loneliness and the lack of ability to adapt to this new reality of forced isolation may be some of the reasons.

The higher number of contacts outside the household was registered in the Northern and Central regions

The study also determined the number of personal contacts outside people’s households. Each day, 112.8/1000 participants reported having contacted five or more people outside their household and “37.5 contacted five or more people for more than 15 minutes, at a distance of less than two meters”.

The average number of contacts is greater in the Northern and Central regions, especially when compared to Lisbon and the Southern region.

Contacts with suspects or confirmed cases (Image: PÚBLICO)
Contact with suspects or confirmed cases (Image: PÚBLICO)

According to the researchers, the family and work structures could explain this.

The study keeps going; during the first week, 6,791 people (aged between 16 and 89 years old) participated in the study, representing 23,254 surveys.

People should keep participating

The detailed information on the first week’s results is available in the report developed by the researchers from ISPUP and INESC TEC (HERE) and the news piece published by the newspaper PÚBLICO (HERE). The production of scientific knowledge in this field, expected to have a great impact on the community, is an ongoing process. The researchers involved will continue to analyse the participants’ daily answers, in order to release new results on a weekly basis.  In this sense, citizens should keep participating and contributing to the results of the “Diaries of a Pandemic” study (HERE).

A multidisciplinary team from INESC TEC is involved in this study, comprising the following elements: Artur Rocha, Coordinator of the Centre for Information Systems and Computer Graphics (CSIG), Gonçalo Gonçalves, CSIG researcher, Jaime Dias, manager of the Systems Administration Service (SAS), Vasco Rosa Dias, Data Protection Officer, and Gabriel David, member of INESC TEC Executive Board.

The INESC TEC researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC.

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