Daily life experiences of COVID-19 in the canton of Vaud
Even though biological factors are important to understand differences in exposure to viral transmission, the spread of the disease and the adoption of protection measures cannot be properly grasped and assessed without considering the social conditions of life in specific local contexts.
As Switzerland adjusts its COVID-19 public health recommendations to the evolution of the pandemic, individuals and communities are all affected differently, whether biologically, personally, socially or economically. The everyday environment, i.e. housing and working conditions, and family and other social relations, has been shown to play a crucial role with regard to the risk of exposure, viral transmission and protection measures. The extent to which living conditions modulate these experiences in the general population as well as in specific local contexts and groups remains to be studied.
We will undertake an ethnographic exploration to obtain a deeper understanding of how living conditions, i.e. the everyday environment at work, at home and while carrying out daily activities, social and economic circumstances and the physical environment influence the risk of exposure and viral transmission as well as the adoption of protective measures. We will study three populations differentially exposed to COVID-19: i) index cases; ii) workers in “essential services”; and iii) asylum seekers.
Expected results and envisaged products
Experiences of viral exposure, transmission and protection measures are modulated by existing inequalities and vulnerabilities. Information gathered from differential experiences of the pandemic will allow us to identify determinants that modulate the possibility of protecting oneself from viral exposure based on specific local contexts and living conditions. The reconfigurations taking place during the pandemic in terms of professional activities, family and other social relations, and housing generate new vulnerabilities and/or reinforce existing ones, which in turn impacts health differentials in the population.
Specific contribution to tackle the current pandemic
This medical anthropological study complements the epidemiological quantitative methods used in SerocoViD, a serological study aiming to determine COVID-19 immunity at cantonal level. By building on solid interdisciplinary collaboration, this project will contribute to the development of public health strategies empirically grounded in people’s living conditions and integrating the interplay of environmental, social and biological factors for the general population and specific groups.
Daily life experiences of Covid-19: an ethnographic exploration of viral exposure, protective practices and the making of vulnerabilities through the lens of living conditions in Canton de Vaud