Perceptions and opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic in Flanders, Belgium: Data from a five-wave longitudinal study
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have become increasingly fearful of the disease as death tolls rise, while governments attempt to combat it by installing restrictive measures. News media play a vital role as they are the main sources from which people gather information regarding the disease and the public health measures. The present longitudinal data reflect a bird’s eye view of people’s fears towards getting ill, their news media consumption, their attitudes regarding the (Belgian) government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, informal care burden, and changes in physical activities. Data were collected at five key moments in the pandemic among adults in Flanders, Belgium: in the middle of March 2020 (W1; when the first restrictive measures went into effect; N = 1,000), early April 2020 (W2; as hospital admissions and death toll peaked; N = 870), at the end of May and beginning of June 2020 (W3; as several measures were lifted or relaxed; N = 768), in late August 2020 (W4; as infection rates increased again; N = 505), and in the middle of March 2021, exactly one year after the first data collection (W5; N = 408). In W4 and W5, new respondents were added to the longitudinal sample to strengthen cross-sectional analyses of these data. These data may be of interest to researchers who wish to explore dynamics of fear and attitudes towards public health measures during this particularly challenging time.