Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: 19 March 2021

Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 10 March to 14 March 2021 to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain.

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Cyswllt:
Email Tim Vizard, David Ainslie and Geeta Kerai

Dyddiad y datganiad:
19 March 2021

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
26 March 2021

1. Main points

This week, over the period 10 to 14 March 2021, based on adults in Great Britain:

  • Compliance with most measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) remained high, with 88% of adults reporting always or often handwashing after returning home (89% last week), 97% using a face covering (96% last week), and 92% avoiding physical contact when outside their home (91% last week).
  • Since mid-January (13 to 17 January 2021), among adults who left their home in the last seven days, we have seen a continuing gradual increase in certain reasons for this, for example: to take children or young people to or from school, college or nursery (14% this week compared with 5% in mid-January); to meet up with people in a public space (10% this week compared with 5% in mid-January); and to shop for things other than necessities (11% this week compared with 5% in mid-January).
  • Over half (53%) of working adults reported leaving home for work in the past seven days, compared with just under half (48%) last week; this proportion has been gradually increasing since mid-February (44% in the period 10 to 14 February 2021).
  • Personal well-being measures of life satisfaction (6.8) and anxiety (3.9) remained the same as the levels reported last week, following previous gradual improvement as 2021 has progressed; the level of happiness (6.9) and feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile (7.3) continued to gradually increase this week, in line with the positive trend seen in recent weeks.
  • The activities that adults most frequently reported they have been doing more of during the coronavirus pandemic, or would keep doing more often after the end of the pandemic were similar: avoiding crowded places (71% during the pandemic, 38% after the end of the pandemic); video calls with family and friends (57% during the pandemic, 29% after the end of the pandemic); and online shopping for goods other than groceries (54% during the pandemic, 33% after the end of the pandemic).
  • Positive sentiment towards the COVID-19 vaccines remained high; 94% of adults reported they had now either received a vaccine or would be likely to have a vaccine if offered, similar to last week (93%).
  • Of adults who said they would be unlikely (either fairly or very unlikely) to have a COVID-19 vaccine if offered, or had decided not to have a vaccine when offered, the most commonly reported reasons why not were: feeling worried about the long-term effects on their health (43%); not thinking it will be safe (31%); wanting to wait to see how well the vaccines work (30%); feeling worried about the side effects (29%); and preferring someone in more need to receive a vaccine first (25%).
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2. Understanding the impact on society

This bulletin contains data and indicators from a module being undertaken through the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS’) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on British society.

The bulletin presents a summary of the results. Breakdowns by age, sex, region and country, including confidence intervals for the estimates, are contained in the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain dataset.

Where changes in results from previous weeks are presented in this bulletin, associated confidence intervals should be used to assess the statistical significance of the differences.

The latest statistics in this release are based on a survey of 6,025 adults aged 16 years and over in Great Britain conducted between 10 and 14 March 2021 (inclusive). Results from this period are based on 4,524 responding adults (75% response rate). Throughout the bulletin:

  • “this week” refers to responses collected during the period 10 to 14 March 2021
  • “last week” refers to responses collected during the period 3 to 7 March 2021
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3. Main indicators

Compliance with most measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) remained high this week (Table 1), with 88% of adults reporting always or often handwashing after returning home (89% last week), 97% using a face covering (96% last week), and 92% avoiding physical contact when outside their home (91% last week).

Table 1: Main Indicators

Great Britain, 3 to 14 March

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Notes:

  1. "This week" refers to responses collected during the period 10 to 14 March 2021.
  2. "Last week" refers to responses collected during the period 3 to 7 March 2021.

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Further statistics on compliance with measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, including trends over time, can be found in Tables 1a to 6 of the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain dataset.

More about coronavirus

Reasons for leaving home

Around 9 in 10 (94%) adults in Great Britain reported leaving home this week (the same as last week). This proportion appears to have gradually increased since mid-January (89% in the period 13 to 17 January 2021).

Figure 1 shows some of the reasons adults have reported for leaving home that have shown the largest increases since mid-January.

This week, of adults who reported leaving home:

  • 14% did so to take children or young people to or from school, college or nursery (5% in mid-January, 9% last week as children returned to school in England from 8 March)
  • 10% did so to meet up with people in a public space (5% in mid-January)
  • 11% did so to shop for things other than basic necessities such as food and medicine (5% in mid-January)
  • 16% did so for any medical need, including to get a COVID-19 vaccine (11% in mid-January)
  • 13% did so to collect takeaway food or drinks from a restaurant, bar or pub (9% in mid-January)
  • 19% did so to visit a park or local green space (14% in mid-January)

Figure 1: Leaving home to take young people to or from education, meet people in a public space, or shop for non-essential items is gradually increasing

Of adults who reported they had left home in the past seven days for any reason, Great Britain, December 2020 to March 2021

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Notes:

  1. Question: "In the past seven days, for what reasons have you left your home?".
  2. Base: all adults who reported having in the past seven days left their home for any reason.
  3. For more information as to how response options for the question "In the past seven days, for what reasons have you left your home?" have changed during the course of the pandemic and comparability of the data shown in this chart over time please see the datasets associated with this bulletin.
  4. Not all possible response categories are shown on this chart. For data for all possible response categories to this question please see Table 6 of the dataset associated with this bulletin.

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Leaving home to meet others

We asked respondents to think of their largest gathering in the last seven days and found that:

  • at least 13% of adults have met up indoors with someone outside their household or support bubble (excluding work or education); this was similar to last week (12%) and has remained relatively similar in recent weeks
  • at least 19% of adults have met up with someone outside their household or support bubble outdoors (excluding work or education); this was similar to last week (20%) although this proportion appears to have gradually increased since mid-February (14% in the period 10 to 14 February 2021)

When looking at those who had met up with others outside their household or support bubble (either indoors or outdoors), 88% of adults reported always or often maintaining social distance when meeting up with people outside their support bubble this week, the same as last week.

It is worth noting that there may be valid reasons why people are unable to maintain social distancing (essential appointments, shopping, and so on) and it does not necessarily mean that adults are breaking lockdown rules.

Leaving home for work

This week, over half (53%) of working adults reported leaving home for work in the past seven days, compared with just under half (48%) last week. This proportion has been gradually increasing since mid-February (44% in the period 10 to 14 February 2021).

Looking at the last few weeks in more detail:

  • The proportion of working adults reporting travelling to work exclusively in the past seven days increased slightly to 41% this week compared with 38% last week.
  • The proportion of working adults reporting working from home exclusively in the past seven days decreased to 30% this week compared with 36% last week; this follows the general trend seen in working from home or travelling to work exclusively in recent weeks.
  • Just over 1 in 10 (12%) working adults reported both working from home and travelling to work this week compared with 1 in 10 (10%) last week – the first slight increase in this proportion since the end of January 2021 (Figure 3).

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4. Personal well-being

This week, personal well-being measures of life satisfaction (6.8) and anxiety (3.9) remained the same as the levels reported last week, following previous gradual improvement as 2021 has progressed.

The level of happiness (6.9) and feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile (7.3) continued to gradually increase this week, in line with the positive trend seen here in recent weeks (Figure 4).

The proportion of adults who were worried (very or somewhat) about the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on their life right now was slightly less than last week (62% this week compared with 65% last week), continuing the gradual decline in this proportion reported in recent weeks.

Figure 4: Levels of happiness and feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile continue to gradually improve

Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to March 2021

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Notes:

  1. Questions: “Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?”, “Overall, to what extent do you feel that the things you do in your life are worthwhile?”, “Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?” and “Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?”.
  2. These questions are answered on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is “not at all” and 10 is “completely”.
  3. Base: all adults.

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5. Perceptions of the future

This week, 3 in 10 (30%) adults in Great Britain felt that life will return to normal in six months or less (the same as last week).

Around 2 in 10 adults (21%) felt that it will take more than a year for life to return to normal (20% last week). These proportions apear to have stabilised after an initial increase in the proportion who felt that life will return to normal in six months or less following the publication of the roadmap out of lockdown for England in February (Figure 5).

Figure 5: 3 in 10 (30%) adults this week reported they felt it will take less than six months for life to return to normal

Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to March 2021

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Notes:

  1. Question: "How long do you think it will be before your life returns to normal?".
  2. Base: all adults.
  3. Response categories of “7 to 12 months”, “Never”, “Not sure” and "Prefer not to say" are not shown on this chart.

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This week, we asked adults about the activities they have been doing more of during the coronavirus pandemic and the activities they think they will keep doing more often after the end of the pandemic.

The activities that adults most frequently reported they have been doing more of during the pandemic or would keep doing more often after the end of the pandemic were similar:

  • avoiding crowded places (71% during the pandemic, 38% after the end of the pandemic)
  • video calls with family and friends (57% during the pandemic, 29% after the end of the pandemic)
  • online shopping for goods other than groceries (54% during the pandemic, 33% after the end of the pandemic)

Around 3 in 10 (31%) adults reported they have been working from home more often during the pandemic, with around 2 in 10 (20%) reporting they would keep working from home more often after the end of the pandemic (Figure 6). When considering only those adults who are currently working, these proportions rise to 45% and 29% respectively.

Further statistics on how both people and businesses have adapted their behaviour through the coronavirus pandemic are available in Comparing behaviours and economic activity during lockdown periods: March 2021.

Further statistics on well-being, loneliness, perceptions of the future and worries, including trends over time, can be found in Table 1b, Table 7 and Table 8 of the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain dataset.

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6. Attitudes to COVID-19 vaccination

This week, 94% of adults reported they had now either received at least one dose of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine or would be likely (very or fairly likely) to have a vaccine if offered; this is similar to that reported last week (93%) and includes adults who have accepted and are waiting to receive one.

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The estimates presented here are from a sample of adults, and may differ from the latest official administrative data on the number of adults in Great Britain and its constituent countries who have received COVID-19 vaccination.

In early December 2020, around 8 in 10 (78%) adults indicated they would be likely to accept a vaccine if offered one (Figure 7).

Figure 7: Over 9 in 10 (94%) adults have received or would be likely to accept a COVID-19 vaccine if offered

Adults in Great Britain, December 2020 to March 2021

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Notes:

  1. Questions: "Have you received a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?", "Have you been offered the vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?" and "If a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) was offered to you, how likely or unlikely would you be to have the vaccine?".
  2. Base: all adults.
  3. Questions asked about attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccination have changed over the survey periods shown so interpretation of this time series should be made with caution. For more information please see the datasets associated with this bulletin.
  4. Category of "Adults who have received the vaccine, are awaiting, or would be likely to have the vaccine if offered" includes those who reported they have either received the COVID-19 vaccine, accepted an offer of a vaccine and are awaiting vaccination, or would be very or fairly likely to have the vaccine if offered.
  5. Categories of "Adults who have been offered and declined the vaccine or would be very or fairly unlikely to have the vaccine if offered", "Neither", "Don’t know" and "Prefer not to say" are not shown on this chart.

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The 94% of adults in Great Britain this week who reported this “positive vaccine sentiment”¹ is made up of those who reported either that they:

  • had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (48%)
  • had been offered a vaccine and were awaiting it (8%)
  • had not yet been offered a vaccine but were likely (very or fairly) to have one when offered (39%)

Positive vaccine sentiment appeared to increase with age, with the majority (99%) of adults aged 50 to 69 years, or 70 years and over reporting they had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, were awaiting one, or would be likely to accept one if offered. This is compared with 87% of adults aged 16 to 29 years, and 92% of adults aged 30 to 49 years (Figure 8).

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Our survey does not include adults living in care homes or other establishments, so will not capture vaccinations in these settings. Because of small sample sizes, the percentage of adults who have declined the vaccine should be treated with caution. For more information please see the Glossary.

Figure 8: 99% of adults aged 50 to 69 years or 70 years and over reported they had received at least one dose of a vaccine, were awaiting one or would be likely to accept one

Adults in Great Britain, 10 to 14 March 2021

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Notes:

  1. Questions: "Have you received a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?", "Have you been offered the vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?" and "If a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) was offered to you, how likely or unlikely would you be to have the vaccine?”.
  2. Base: all adults.
  3. Totals may not sum to 100% because of rounding and because proportions of less than 1% are not included in this chart.

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The 6% of adults in Great Britain this week who reported “vaccine hesitancy” is made up of those who reported either that they:

  • had been offered a vaccine and decided not to be vaccinated (1%)
  • had not yet been offered a vaccine but were unlikely (very or fairly) to have one when offered (2%)
  • had not yet been offered a vaccine and were neither likely nor unlikely to have it when offered, didn’t know or preferred not to say (3%)

Of all adults who said they would be unlikely to have a COVID-19 vaccine if offered, or had decided not to have a vaccine when offered, the most commonly reported reasons why not were:

  • feeling worried about the long-term effects on their health (43% this week, 36% last week)
  • not thinking it will be safe (31% this week, 24% last week)
  • wanting to wait to see how well the vaccine works (30% this week, 28% last week)
  • feeling worried about the side effects (29% this week, 34% last week)
  • preferring someone in more need of the vaccine to receive it before me (25% this week, 16% last week)

Please note that changes in reasons from last week may not be statistically significant because of small sample sizes. The proportions of all possible reasons why not, as well as further statistics on attitudes to vaccines this week can be found in Table 12 of the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain dataset.

For more information on attitudes to COVID-19 vaccines among different sub-groups of the population, including breakdowns by age, sex, ethnic group and disability status, see:

Notes for: Attitudes to COVID-19 vaccination

  1. Totals for the combined category of “positive vaccine sentiment” or “vaccine hesitancy” may appear to be different than if combining the individual category estimates shown in Figure 8 because of rounding.
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7. Social impacts on Great Britain data

Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain
Dataset | Released 19 March 2021
Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain. Includes breakdowns by at-risk age, sex and underlying health condition.

Change in behaviours during and after the coronavirus pandemic
Dataset | Released 19 March 2021
Data on activities that respondents have been doing more of since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and will keep doing after the end of the pandemic. Data are based on the COVID-19 module of the OPN, collected between 10 and 14 March 2021.

Worries about return to school or college
Dataset | Released 12 March 2021
Analysis on worries about children or young people's return to school or college. Based on the coronavirus (COVID-19) module of the OPN, collected between 3 and 7 March 2021.

Coronavirus and vaccine hesitancy, Great Britain
Dataset | Released 8 March 2021
Estimates of vaccine sentiment with breakdowns by different population groups, and the reasons for reporting negative vaccine sentiment for these groups. Analysis based on the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey.

Coronavirus and homeschooling in Great Britain
Dataset | Released 19 February 2021
Analysis of homeschooling in Great Britain during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN). Data relate to homeschooling from the COVID-19 module of the OPN, collected between 13 January and February 2021.

Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain: February 2021
Dataset | Released 11 March 2021
Indicators from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey to understand the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on disabled people in Great Britain.

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8. Glossary

Lockdown

On 5 January 2021, the UK government announced a further national lockdown for England. Similar rules applied for Scotland and Wales, particularly the message to “stay at home” meaning that adults in Great Britain were under a national lockdown at the start of the year in 2021.

On 22 February 2021, the UK government published a four-step roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions in England. On 23 February, the Scottish government published an update to the strategic framework for easing lockdown restrictions in Scotland. In Wales, from 13 March, stay at home restrictions were replaced with stay local restrictions.

Personal well-being

Personal well-being measures ask people to evaluate, on a scale of 0 to 10, how satisfied they are with their life overall, whether they feel the things they do in life are worthwhile, and happiness and anxiety yesterday.

For the latest estimates of personal well-being available from the Annual Population Survey (APS) and more information on the comparability of estimates of personal well-being between the APS and the estimates provided in this bulletin from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN), see Personal well-being in the UK, quarterly: April 2011 to September 2020.

Vaccination for COVID-19

Following the first coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine being given in the UK on 8 December 2020, COVID-19 vaccination is now being provided in various locations across the country. The vaccines are currently being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local vaccination centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres.

National Health Service (NHS) guidance on the COVID-19 vaccines is available.

More information on the number of people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine to date is available.

Working adults

For this survey, a person is said to be a “working adult” if:

  • they had a paid job, either as an employee or self-employed
  • they did any casual work for payment
  • they did any unpaid or voluntary work in the previous week
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9. Measuring the data

The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) is a monthly omnibus survey. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have adapted the OPN to become a weekly survey used to collect data on the impact of the coronavirus on day-to-day life in Great Britain. In the latest wave, 6,025 individuals were sampled, with a response rate of 75% (or 4,524 individuals) for the survey conducted from 10 to 14 March 2021.

The survey results are weighted to be a nationally representative sample for Great Britain, and data are collected using an online self-completion questionnaire. Individuals who did not want or were unable to complete the survey online had the opportunity to take part over the phone.

Survey estimates may be subject to non-response bias, which could result in some groups of the population being less likely to take part. Steps have been taken to minimise the impact of non-response bias, which can be found in published information about the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey QMI.

Where changes in results from previous weeks or differences between groups are presented in this bulletin, associated confidence intervals, which are included in the associated datasets, indicate their significance.

Estimates in this bulletin are rounded to the nearest whole number. Where individual answer categories for a question have been combined to provide an estimate, the total may not appear to sum to the total of individual categories because of this rounding.

Estimates of attitudes towards vaccination provided since 13 to 17 January 2021 should be used with caution when compared with any weeks prior to this. In the weeks prior to this, adults were asked their likelihood of having a vaccine if offered, but were not specifically asked if they had already been offered or received a vaccine.

Sampling

A sample of 6,025 households was randomly selected from those that had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS). From each household, one adult was selected at random but with unequal probability. Younger people were given higher selection probability than other people because of under-representation in the sample available for the survey. The survey also includes a boosted sample for England, to allow more detailed analysis at a regional level, which are available in the datasets.

Weighting

The responding sample in the week 3 to 7 March 2021 contained 4,524 individuals (75% response rate). Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population.

Weights were first adjusted for non-response and attrition. Subsequently, the weights were calibrated to satisfy population distributions considering the following factors: sex by age, region, tenure, highest qualification and employment status. For age, sex and region, population totals based on projections of mid-year population estimates for March 2021 were used. The resulting weighted sample is therefore representative of the Great Britain adult population by a number of socio-demographic factors and geography.

For more information, see the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey QMI.

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10. Strengths and limitations

The main strengths of the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) include:

  • it allows for timely production of data and statistics that can respond quickly to changing needs
  • it meets data needs: the questionnaire is developed with customer consultation, and design expertise is applied in the development stages
  • robust methods are adopted for the survey's sampling and weighting strategies to limit the impact of bias
  • quality assurance procedures are undertaken throughout the analysis stages to minimise the risk of error

The main limitations of the OPN include:

  • analysis of estimates in Wales and Scotland are based on low sample sizes, and therefore caution should be used with these estimates
  • comparisons between periods and groups must be done with caution as estimates are provided from a sample survey; as such, confidence intervals are included in the datasets to present the sampling variability, which should be taken into account when assessing differences between periods, as true differences may not exist
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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Tim Vizard, David Ainslie and Geeta Kerai
policy.evidence.analysis@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 (0)300 0671543