Our British World – How Covid-19 is affecting Britain
There is a world of research opportunity surrounding Covid-19 currently. The research from the Office for National Statistics is regularly updated and one which we have chosen to bullet point and comment on for a sample of UK residents. Some insight into how the country is handling this pandemic, how it is affecting us, and bring awareness to some that you are not alone. We take each day as it comes, so far a rollercoaster of adapting to lifestyle changes, employment uncertainty (and certainty), worries, loss and general displacement.
It will be interesting to read about the psychology of sudden isolation once research is available, for both children and adults – we will post relevant blogs as information arises.
All information herein has been taken from the survey data set ‘Coronavirus and the Social Impacts on Great Britain’, which was released on April 23, 2020, unless otherwise sited.
The impact of Covid-19 has not had a huge effect on every person in the country, 3% of those surveyed are not worried at all about the effect Covid-19 is having on their lives and feel unaffected by the current events. Rather, this is to highlight the response by society in general.
Overall, there is a majority response of (29.1%) who are assuming life will ‘return to normal’ within 4-6 months.
33.8% of people are very worried about the effect that Covid-19 is having on their lives right now. A larger 50.2% are somewhat worried.
Let’s bear in mind that we are in the early stages of just now coming to terms with the severity and impact the virus has had on the UK (and the world) and so the changes that have been put in place (for example working from home, schools closing, loss of job or furlough, business closure) is starting to find a ‘tail’. This means the initial uncertainty, the unusual insistence of staying at home; possibly juggling children, new work modes, or work loss, lack of freedom and contact with others (for some, living alone and working through these changes with little to no access to anyone), not to mention loss of money coming in is becoming more accepted and a part of the ‘routine’.
The government has put into place financial aid for workers, and businesses, for now. We await the end of the next cycle of lockdown, some somewhat still enjoying some ‘time’ doing things we have been meaning to do around the house for a long time, getting to know partners again, getting to know full-time parenting again, or perhaps on the flipside, things have gone headfirst into ‘damage control’ where we are busier than ever before – planning for a new future. There are probably a hundred combinations of thought around this tail of ‘acceptance’ and how we are within it. Perhaps it is acceptance or perhaps it feels more like defeat.
Of those who said they were very worried, (33.8%) the number one reason was ‘My wellbeing is being affected’ (61%).
The highest recorded contributing factors to this were; worry about the future (71.3%), feeling stressed or anxious (66.4%), and feeling bored (53.9%).
29% of respondents commented on concerns relating to their relationships and of that 51% were concerned about their relationship with their partner or spouse.
This was a near split with 61% female and 56.2% male responding.
Wellbeing is a concern, anxieties are high 6.3% of people feel lonely often/always; triggered by living arrangements, loneliness, and inability to communicate with support networks. There has been a rise in Domestic Violence Support contact (Rising Sun, March 2020), Child Abuse Support contact (Childline, 2020). Charities are working hard to support through online and telephone contact and not to forget the Angels who continue to work hands on with the most vulnerable. Yet there are more and more heightened emotions and anxieties, what ifs, self-doubt, why mes, what am I going to do’s than ever before.
The things that seem to be helping the most whilst staying at home are remote communication with friends and family (81.1%), Spending time with the people in the household (58%) and getting outside to exercise (53.7%).
39% of respondents have said they have checked in on vulnerable neighbours since the lockdown between 1-2 times and 29.5% have helped in some way, shopping, dog walking for example. These vulnerable people, especially if living alone appreciate the care of people who are aware of their circumstance. Leaving food or making deliveries help with the day to day survival, but also boosts happiness and wellbeing, even if contact is for a few minutes. It is very warming to hear of the good will of people in society.
There is a general acknowledgement of the increase of such gestures at 75.9%.
As expected most households are struggling.
60% said their work was being affected and of that it is a short race between reduced hours (34.5%), working from home (34%) and having to close a business until further Government instructions (25.7%).
The financial impact of Covid-19 has affected a huge 75.4% of households across the UK.
27% of households are having to spend their (hard earned) savings on paying bills, food, rent etcetera.
15% of UK households are struggling to keep up with bills and mortgage/rent repayments
And as of April 17, 2020 there had been 1.2m Universal Credit applications submitted, (telegraph.co.uk).
Just over 50% of children have been affected by the closure of schools across the country.
31.7% are concerned about uncertainty around exams and 45.4% are concerned about the quality of education being affected.
Students, particularly those who are moving into College in September are being marked and admitted based on past mock scores and school work. I would imagine some who are not keen exam takers are potentially rejoicing at dodging another stressful exam sitting, but let’s also consider those who work very hard and are driven by results (learnt or organic behaviour) and want or need to sit and achieve their mark when leaving high school. This creates anxiety, frustration, high levels of emotion and ‘unjust’. It is important we are aware of the impact of these priorities of students as we may see more knock-on effects in years to come.
11% of respondents are not confident in their ability to deliver home schooling.
With 40.3% of those saying home schooling was putting a strain on relationships within the household and 27% stating it was negatively affecting their jobs and 24.8% stating it was negatively affecting their own wellbeing and 40.1% state it was negatively affecting their child’s wellbeing.
Though fairly slim in detail, this is a good indication of where we are with the most spoken of dilemmas in society this current day – wellbeing, employment, finance and education.
If you are interested in keeping up to date with the National Statistics survey, go to: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/datasets/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritaindata
Hope, Christopher, 2020, Unemployment soaring…..since the beginning of Coronavirus crisis’, telegraph.co.uk