POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Contact survey: Generational gap in lockdown compliance



A couple is pictured at home in this illustration photo. Older people were found to have had less contacts during lockdown than younger people Shutterstock

A couple is pictured at home in this illustration photo. Older people were found to have had less contacts during lockdown than younger people Shutterstock

Older people are more likely to comply with social distancing measures than younger people, the results of a national survey suggest.

Conducted by the Fond National de la Recherche (FNR) along with the Laboratoire national de santé (LNS), the non-representative, online study examined social contacts within the population of Luxembourg during and after the covid-19 lockdown. The survey was carried out at six different intervals between March and June.

The higher level of compliance among older respondents was in part to be “expected since the risk of hospitalisation and death from COVID-19 increases with age,” said Ardashel Latsuzbaia, of the Epidemiology and Microbial Genomics Unit at the LNS.

Latsuzbaia said the results further suggest that Luxembourg’s strict physical distancing measures resulted in a “more than 80% reduction of the average number of contacts per day compared to the pre-pandemic period. This would also explain why the number of new infections at the beginning of the crisis increased so rapidly and then dropped rapidly again.”

Luxembourg and Portuguese respondents were found to have a higher than average number of contacts during lockdown, and the mean number of contacts was significantly higher for the survey when conducted in French compared to German and English language. The results also showed the highest number of contacts occurred at work, while the lowest number of contacts was reported during leisure time and at the supermarket.

When the lockdown was fully eased in June, the average number of contacts increased, but remained 60% lower than before the pandemic, the report found. The last survey run in August showed a slight decrease in social contacts, which could explain the lower numbers of new infections reported in the last weeks.