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How the population is faring in the coronavirus crisis

With the COVID-19 Social Monitor, academics from the ZHAW, the University of Basel and the University of Zurich are continuously documenting how the pandemic is impacting the people of Switzerland.

How many people are working from home? Which age group is suffering the greatest psychological strain? What is the financial impact of the restrictions on public life? The COVID-19 Social Monitor provides answers to such questions. It was launched in March 2020 to help manage the coronavirus crisis. Researchers from the Winterthur Institute of Health Economics, the Clinical Trial Unit of the University of Bern and the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute of the University of Zurich are working together on the project. They regularly survey around 2,000 people from all four parts of the country. On this basis, they continuously survey how the pandemic is influencing people’s well-being, standard of health and employment situation as well as the behaviour of people in Switzerland. Among other things, they documented that medical care was greatly restricted during the first wave when numerous people voluntarily opted against visiting the doctor’s or attending treatment sessions.

Quality of life has remained high so far

The representative study also proves that young people have been especially confronted with mental stress due to the restrictions placed on social and public life impacting them more than other age groups. So far, however, the quality of life has remained high on the whole. “The pandemic has not adversely affected the general population’s quality of life to the extent that was initially feared,” says project leader Marc Höglinger from the ZHAW. The majority of people are said to have been able to cope with the challenges and remain healthy. On the other hand, the Swiss population’s trust in the authorities and the media has been hit, while the growing vaccination rate has also led to a decline in their discipline in adhering to the recommended precautionary measures.