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17 Apr

Coronavirus has resulted in almost 90% of people in UK saying they are very worried or somewhat worried about the effect that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on their life.

Just over half of adults (53.1%) said it was affecting their well-being, according to latest report from the Office For National Statistics.

Nearly half of adults (46.9%) reported high levels of anxiety.

Just over 1 in 5 adults (22.9%) said it was affecting their household finances.

Staying in touch with friends and family remotely was the most common action that is helping people cope with staying at home (76.9%).

Coronavirus – concerns about work and finances

Over 8 in 10 adults (84.2%) said they are very worried or somewhat worried about the effect that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on their life right now. This increases to 89.4% for those aged 70 years and over. For those with an underlying health condition (all ages) it is 85.0%. Figure 1 shows the specific aspects of their lives that people said they were most worried about.

Coronavirus – Concerns about work

Nearly 2 in 5 adults (39.7%) said the coronavirus was affecting their work. For those aged 16 to 69 years, this increased to 47.2%. The main reason for this concern was a decrease in hours worked because of workplace closures or reduced opening times. For many, this concern was also caused by being asked to work from home, redundancy or closure of their own business. However, for some it was because of needing to work additional hours or not being able to take leave

Coronavirus – Concerns about household finances

Nearly 1 in 4 adults (22.9%) said the coronavirus was affecting their household finances.
The main concern amongst these people was reduced income (72.9%), with 31.9% having needed to use savings to cover living costs and 22.1% saying they were struggling to pay bills

Coronavirus – Expectations for the future

When considering their future, nearly half of all adults (44.3%) expected their financial position to get a little or a lot worse over the next 12 months. A lower proportion (41.0%) expected to be able to save over this same time.

Over 1 in 3 adults (35.0%) thought it would be between four and six months before their life would return to normal, with another third (32.9%) thinking it will be longer than six months

Many adults were more pessimistic when considering the financial future outside their household. Almost 9 in 10 (84.5%) expected the general economic situation in this country to get a little or a lot worse over the next 12 months.

In view of the general economic situation, 40.4% felt now was the right time to save, while only 3.3% thought now was the right time to make major purchases such as furniture or electrical goods.

Understanding information about the coronavirus

Just over 4 in 5 adults (83.3%) said they had enough information about how to protect themselves from the coronavirus (COVID-19), an increase from 77.4% last week. For those aged 70 years and over it was 85.3% while for those with underlying health conditions it was 79.8%.

An increased proportion of adults (52.5%) said they had enough information about the UK’s plan for dealing with the coronavirus compared with last week (47.8%).

Coronavirus – Personal hygiene

Similar to last week, nearly all adults (99.7%) said they had washed their hands with soap and water in the past seven days to avoid infection, with 88.9% saying they washed their hands with soap and water or sanitiser when they arrived home.

Coronavirus – Social distancing

Official advice is to practise social distancing – staying at least two metres away from other people outside your home and to shield vulnerable people, such as those in older age groups or with certain underlying health conditions.

Nearly all adults (96.8%) said they had avoided physical contact (such as shaking hands) with other people from outside their household. There was no statistically significant change from last week (94.3%).

Similarly high proportions of people (92.2%) had said they had avoided contact with older or vulnerable people. Of these, 13.4% said they had avoided someone they were caring for.

Coronavirus – Working from home

An increased proportion of adults in employment said they were working from home this week (45.8%) compared with last week (42.9%). Of those who were in employment and have an underlying health condition, 49.4% said they were working from home.

Coronavirus – Self-isolation

Alongside the Stay At Home guidance, official advice is that people should self-isolate if they or someone in their household experiences symptoms related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). These results should not be interpreted as an estimate of those with COVID-19 symptoms or those diagnosed with COVID-19.

Over 2 in 5 adults (41.2%) said they had self-isolated (stayed at home) in the past seven days. For those aged 70 years and over, this rose to 62.3%, while for those with an underlying health condition (of all ages) it was 57.5%

Over 3 in 10 (31.6%) adults said someone in their household had self-isolated in the past seven days. For those aged 70 years and over this rose to 42.3% while for those with an underlying health condition it was 41.3%.

Additionally, 7 in 10 adults (71.4%) knew someone living outside their household that had self-isolated.

Coronavirus – Coping at home

Government guidelines to help stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) put strict restrictions on how often we can leave our homes. This means the way we socialise and spend our leisure time is changing.

Despite restrictions on physical contact with others, finding a way to stay in touch with friends and family remotely is the most popular action that is helping people cope whilst staying at home. Spending time with members of their household was also an important part of coping during this lockdown period. Leisure activities such as watching films (55.5%), reading (39.2%), gardening (37.6%) and cooking (34.2%) were also popular.

One of the permitted reasons for leaving your home is to take one form of exercise each day. Nearly half (46.7%) of all adults said this is helping them cope

Coronavirus – Community belonging

Over half of adults (54.9%) said they have a sense of belonging with other residents in their local community during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, over 2 in 3 (67.9%) also said they thought people are doing more to help others since the coronavirus outbreak.

A similar proportion (57.0%) said other local community members would support them if they needed help during the coronavirus pandemic. In the past seven days, over half (53.8%) of all adults said they had checked on neighbours who might need help at least once. Additionally, over 1 in 4 (27.7%) said they had gone shopping or done other tasks for neighbours.

Indicators of well-being and loneliness

Just over half of adults (53.1%) said the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was affecting their well-being. This was similar for those with an underlying health condition at 54.7% and lower for those aged 70 years and over at 45.8%

Nearly half of adults (46.9%) reported high levels of anxiety (a score of 6 to 10), a decrease from last week (49.6%).

Just over 1 in 5 adults (20.1%) said they felt lonely often/always or some of the time and this is similar to last week (23.8%). As is seen in similar reports on loneliness before the pandemic, levels of reported loneliness are lower amongst those aged 70 years and over at 11.6%, which is similar to last week’s estimate (12.7%). For those with an underlying health condition it was 25.6% compared with 23.2% last week. However, this was not a significant difference.

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