For the first time, the well-being of Antwerp’s citizens is worse than other Belgians’

July 28th 2020

The Great Corona study shows that 9% didn’t follow the ‘bubble of fifteen’ rule at all 

As stricter corona measures were announced again, the mental well-being of the Belgians took a hit. Just over half of people had a bubble that included more than five people in the past few weeks: for them, it’ll be quite a change. This and much more was found in a new wave of the Great Corona Study. 

Corona is back again (but it actually never left) and it dominates all conversations once again. The National Security Council scrapped the planned relaxations and reversed a number of measures. The province of Antwerp goes one step further to stop the increasing number of infections and has announced far-reaching measures such as a curfew. 

The fact that corona is (unfortunately) top of mind again is also apparent by the number of participants in the sixteenth wave of the Great Corona Study – an initiative of the University of Antwerp, supported by UHasselt, KU Leuven and ULB. On Tuesday 28 July, almost 37,000 people took part in the questionnaire. ‘That is about 9,000 more than two weeks ago’, Philippe Beutels (UAntwerp) says. ‘And that in the middle of summer. In any case, it proves that more people are faced with the virus again.’ 

Since the start of the corona crisis, more than 2.5 million Belgians have participated in the Great Corona Study. An initial analysis of the results provides some interesting observations. 

For instance, the bubble debate received a lot of attention in this week’ s questionnaire.  

  • 91% of respondents tried to follow the ‘bubble of 15’ rule in the past weeks, 9% indicated that they did not follow this rule at all.  

  • 52.1% had a bubble with more than 5 people in the past week. This percentage is higher among younger people: 68.2% for 18–35 year-olds, 49.5% for 36–65 year-olds and 37.9% for 66+ year-olds. 

  • 11% of people found the ‘bubble of 15’ guideline difficult to respect. 

The stricter measures have already led to the cancellation of many activities in, for example, the cultural and sports sectors, but will also affect people’s private lives. 

  • More than half of people will change their plans for going to bars, restaurants and going shopping. Almost 70% will also change plans for getting together with family. 

  • 52% planned a social activity in August that is no longer possible. 87% of these participants will cancel the activity, 10% will adjust the number of participants and 3% say they will not adjust. 

  • For those whose plans have been thwarted, communication about the guidelines is unclear for 44% and very unclear for 9%. 

The new measures also have an effect on the mental well-being of participants. 

  • Since the start of the exit strategy, well-being has been going in the right direction. At the beginning of July, on average we approached the level of the 2018 Belgian Health Survey. Now this curve is also moving in the wrong direction.  

  • People living in the province of Antwerp felt somewhat better than other Belgians throughout the entire corona crisis, but this week – obviously related to the stricter rules in their province – this has suddenly come to an end.  

The Great Corona Study is organised every two weeks. So the next wave is scheduled for Tuesday 11 August between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. (available in four languages) / / /