Social and economic impacts of the response strategy to the coronavirus pandemic in Belgium

Emilie Banse1, Alix Bigot1, Christian De Valkeneer2, Vincent Lorant3, Olivier Luminet1,4, Pablo Nicaise3, Pierre Smith3, Sandy Tubeuf3,5, Amélie Wuillaume6 Published in the journal : May 2020 Category : Société

The implementation of population containment has proven effective to reduce the number of deaths and avoid overrunning hospitals. However, the restrictive measures of containment and distancing have impacted society far beyond health. In this article, we briefly present four research projects in social sciences and humanities that are currently being conducted at the UCLouvain. The first study, focused on health psychology and emotions, has shown the existence of individual barriers to adopting hygiene and distance behaviors. The second research project on mental health explores the consequences of containment on the mental health of Belgians. The third study, in the field of management and organizational sciences, describes the resilience of companies in crisis situations. Finally, the last study deals with law and discusses the importance of collective responsibility and the need for clear rules to enforce freedom-restricting measures.

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(Easing) lockdown measures, a human and societal challenge: focus on the impact of the COVID-19 “infodemic” in French-speaking Belgium

Bernard Hanseeuw, Louise-Amélie Cougnon, Alexandre Heeren, Nathan Gurnet, Grégoire Lits Published in the journal : May 2020 Category : Société

Managing the health crisis we are facing goes far beyond managing the coronavirus epidemic. The lockdown measures implemented in response to the virus propagation have resulted in broad medical and societal impacts. In addition to the epidemic, an “infodemic” has been generated and is now spreading. For most individuals, this enormous and incessant flow of true and false information is difficult to manage. Moreover, academic physicians now occupy the media space, a situation they are not familiar with. In an academic effort to draw the attention of the Belgian government and experts to the central role of social sciences and humanities in getting out of the crisis, a neurologist has partnered with media sociologists as well as a psychologist specialized in anxiety disorders to better understand the impact of (mis-)information on people’s behavior, with a particular focus on the differences that exist between the general public and health professionals.

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