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

Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 3 to 14 November 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 Catarina Figueira, Matt Mayhew, David Ainslie, Lynsey Brown

Dyddiad y datganiad:
19 November 2021

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
3 December 2021

1. Main points

Throughout the period of 3 to 14 November 2021, based on adults in Great Britain:

  • Over 8 in 10 (85%) adults reported they wore a face covering when outside their home in the past seven days, while around 4 in 10 (41%) reported they always or often maintained social distancing when outside their home.

  • While most adults reported wearing a face covering often or always while shopping (70%) and the whole time while travelling on public transport (70%) in the past seven days, just 18% and 24% said that everyone or almost everyone was wearing a face covering in the same respective settings.

  • Around 1 in 20 (6%) adults had been asked to show proof of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test in the past seven days (excluding for travel abroad), most commonly to attend a theatre or comedy performance (20%), a nightclub or bar (18%), a sporting event (17%) or a work or training event (16%).

  • The majority (90%) of adults who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine said they would be very likely or fairly likely to have a booster vaccine if offered to them.

  • Around 4 in 10 (41%) adults reported experiencing goods shortages in the past two weeks, with almost 1 in 5 (18%) of all adults unable to buy essential food and around 1 in 10 (9%) of all adults unable to buy fuel because they were not available.

  • Around 6 in 10 (62%) adults reported their cost of living has increased over the last month, with the most common reasons reported being an increase in the price of food shopping (86%), an increase in gas or electricity bills (78%) and an increase in the price of fuel (76%).

  • It should be noted that there are strong seasonal spending patterns relating to gas and electricity that may affect these results. Consumer price statistics for October show that electricity and gas prices increased by 8.7% and 17.1% respectively on the month, resulting in 12-month inflation rates of 18.8% for electricity and 28.1% for gas.

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2. Social impacts of coronavirus

Face coverings

Most adults (85%) in Great Britain (GB) reported they wore a face covering when outside their home in the past seven days: 83% in England, 94% in Scotland and 95% in Wales. This proportion appeared to increase with age; 71% of those aged 16 to 29 reported this, 82% of those aged 30 to 49, 90% of those aged 50 to 69 and 96% of those aged 70 years and above.

Guidance on face coverings varies across England, Scotland and Wales. Wearing a face covering was not a legal requirement in most settings in England during this period (3 to 14 November). In Scotland and Wales, wearing a face covering was legally required on public transport and in many indoor settings.

Among those who left home to shop in the past seven days, 70% of adults reported wearing a face covering often or always, while around 2 in 10 (18%) reported seeing everyone or almost everyone wearing a face covering when doing so.

Among those who travelled on public transport in the past seven days, 70% of adults reported wearing a face covering for the whole journey, while around a quarter (24%) reported seeing everyone or almost everyone wearing a face covering while doing so.

Among those who had eaten at a restaurant, café or bar in the past seven days, around 2 in 10 (22%) reported often or always wearing a face covering when doing so. At the same time, 1 in 10 (10%) reported seeing everyone or almost everyone wearing a face covering in these settings.

84% of adults reported they felt wearing a face covering was important or very important in slowing the spread of COVID-19 (the same as in the period 20 to 31 October 2021). This proportion appeared to increase with age; 78% of those aged 16 to 29 reported this, 79% of those aged 30 to 49, 87% of those aged 50 to 69 and 93% of those aged 70 years and above.

Social distancing

Around 41% of adults reported they always or often maintained social distancing when outside their home in the past seven days, which was similar to the previous period (39% during the previous period).  

85% of adults reported they felt social distancing was important or very important in slowing the spread of COVID-19 (the same as in the previous period).

Physical contact outside and inside the home

Almost 6 in 10 adults (58%) reported they avoided physical contact with others outside their home in the past seven days, the same proportion as in the previous period.

When friends and family had come into their home, the most common actions adults reported to help reduce the spread of coronavirus were:

  • washing hands regularly (33%, the same as in the previous period)

  • opening windows or doors (23%, 24% in the previous period)

  • maintaining social distancing (18%, 16% in the previous period)

  • cleaning touch points (16%, 14% in the previous period)

Around 4 in 10 adults (42%) reported friends and family had not come into their home in the past seven days, similar to the previous period (41%).

Self-isolation

The proportion of adults who reported self-isolating in the past seven days remained stable at 3%, unchanged from the previous two periods (6 to 17 and 20 to 31 October 2021). The main reasons adults self-isolated were:

  • they had tested positive for COVID-19 (41%)

  • they are worried about catching COVID-19 (21%)

  • they had been in contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 (18%)

Personal well-being measures

All four personal well-being measures improved slightly in this period compared with the previous period, with life satisfaction, happiness and anxiety also appearing higher than when measured at a similar time in 2020:

  • life satisfaction: 7.1 in this period, 6.7 at a similar time last year (11 to 15 November 2020)

  • feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile: 7.3 in this period, 7.3 at a similar time last year

  • happiness: 7.1 in this period, 6.7 at a similar time last year

  • anxiety: 3.9 in this period, 4.2 at a similar time last year

Location of work

Among working adults:

  • Around 7 in 10 (67%) reported travelling to work at some point in the past seven days (70% in the previous period)

  • 3 in 10 (30%) reported working from home at some point in the past seven days (33% in the previous period)

Adults who both worked at home and travelled to the office are included in both estimates.

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3. Vaccinations

In this period, we asked adults if they had been asked to provide proof of their coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination status, what the likelihood of children living in their household being vaccinated would be, and about their own likelihood of having a booster COVID-19 vaccine or flu vaccination.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination

Among adults in Great Britain, 6% had been asked to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination (excluding when travelling abroad) in the past seven days. The most frequently reported settings where adults were asked for proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test in order to attend were:

  • a theatre or comedy performance (20%)

  • a nightclub or bar (18%)

  • a sporting event (17%)

  • a work or training event (16%)

Guidance on the settings in which proof of vaccination may be required varies across England, Scotland and Wales.

Vaccination of children aged 12 to 15 years

Of adults with a child aged between 12 and 15 years in their household, around 4 in 10 (43%) reported the child would be very likely or fairly likely to receive a vaccine for COVID-19 (50% in the previous period). Around 4 in 10 (41%) said the child had already received a vaccine (28% in the previous period).

Flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster vaccine

Flu vaccine

Of adults who reported they had not had a flu vaccine this winter, 45% reported being very or fairly likely to have one, while 37% reported being very or fairly unlikely to.

Covid-19 booster vaccine

Among adults who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, 9 in 10 (90%) said they would be very likely or fairly likely to have a booster COVID-19 vaccine if offered to them. Meanwhile, 1 in 25 (4%) said they would be very unlikely or fairly unlikely to have a booster vaccine if offered.

Those in older age groups more frequently reported they were very or fairly likely to have a booster vaccine (95% of 50- to 69-year-olds and 98% of those aged 70 years and over) compared with younger age groups (85% of 16- to 29-year-olds and 88% of 30- to 49-year-olds).

The most common reasons reported for being very or fairly unlikely to have the booster vaccine if offered were:

  • thinking the booster vaccine will not offer any extra protection (53%)

  • thinking the first and second vaccine will be enough to keep safe (45%)

  • being worried about long-term effects on health (30%)

  • being worried about having a bad reaction to the booster vaccine (27%)

Of adults who had said they were very, fairly or neither likely or unlikely to have a flu vaccine and a booster vaccine, 83% reported being very or fairly likely to agree to have them at the same time.

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4. Goods shortages

In this period, we continued to ask adults whether they had experienced shortages of any goods at any time in the past two weeks. Just over 4 in 10 (41%) adults reported experiencing shortages (43% in the previous period).

Food

  • Around 1 in 5 (18%) reported they had not been able to buy essential food because it was not available (17% in the previous period).

  • When food shopping, around 7 in 10 (69%) reported experiencing some differences compared with the usual. The most commonly reported differences were:

    • less variety in the shops (50%)
    • items needed were not available, but a replacement was found (23%)
    • items needed were not available and a replacement could not be found (20%)

Fuel

  • Around 1 in 10 (9%) were unable to buy fuel because it was not available (18% in the previous period).

  • Around 4 in 10 (39%) adults reported experiencing differences when buying fuel. The most commonly reported differences were:

    • spending more than usual to get the fuel needed (27%)
    • queueing for longer than normal at a petrol station (13%)
    • using vehicles less to avoid buying more fuel (11%)
  • Around 8 in 10 (81%) adults reported their fuel-buying habits had not changed in the past two weeks.

Medicine

  • Around 3 in 10 (27%) adults who had tried to buy medicine or get a prescription reported experiencing some differences compared with the usual (23% in the previous period). The most commonly reported differences were:

    • having to wait longer for their prescription (15%)
    • having to go to more pharmacies to find what they needed (4%)
    • items needed were not available and a replacement could not be found (3%)
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5. Household finances and cost of living

In this period, we asked adults about their household finances and cost of living. When asked how the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was affecting their life in the past seven days, 12% of adults said their household finances were being affected.

Among those who said their household finances were being affected, the most common reasons reported for this were:

  • reduced income (35%)

  • being unable to save as usual (32%)

  • using savings to cover living costs (25%)

  • borrowing money or using credit (24%)

We also asked adults about changes in their cost of living over the last month, with 62% saying their cost of living had increased, while 1% of adults said their cost of living had decreased.

The most common reasons reported for an increase in the cost of living were:

  • an increase in the price of food shopping (86%)

  • an increase in gas or electricity bills (78%)

  • an increase in the price of fuel (76%)

It should be noted that there are strong seasonal spending patterns relating to gas and electricity that may affect these results. Consumer price statistics for October show that electricity and gas prices increased by 8.7% and 17.1% respectively on the month, resulting in 12-month inflation rates of 18.8% for electricity and 28.1% for gas.

When asked about their financial situation around 6 in 10 (61%) adults said they were able to pay an unexpected but necessary expense of £850 (55% in a similar period last year; 14 to 18 October 2020).

Almost 2 in 10 (18%) adults said they have had to borrow more money or use more credit than usual in the last month compared to a year ago (17% in a similar period last year).

17% of adults said they found it very difficult or difficult to pay their usual household bills in the last month compared to a year ago. This is similar to the proportion reporting this (16%) when we asked this question a year ago (caution should be used when interpreting differences between these periods given a change of wording to this question).

Around 4 in 10 (38%) adults said they found it very easy or easy to pay their usual household bills this month, compared to a year ago. This is similar to the proportion reporting this (41%) when we asked this question a year ago (caution should be used when interpreting differences between these periods given a change of wording to this question).

Further demographic breakdowns of these estimates are available within the accompanying datasets.

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6. Social impacts on Great Britain data

Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain
Dataset | Released 19 November 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 age, sex and region.

Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: Personal experience of shortage of goods
Dataset | Released on 19 November 2021
Data from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) on whether people experienced shortage of goods such as food, medicine and fuel when shopping, covering the period 3 to 14 November 2021.

Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: Household finances and cost of living
Dataset | Released on 19 November 2021
Data from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) on the way in which people report the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their household finances in the past seven days, if people report their costs of living has changed in the last month and why, and on people's financial situation in the last month, covering the period 3 to 14 November 2021.

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7. Measuring the data

This release 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.

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.

Sampling and weighting

In the period between 3 to 14 November we sampled 4,498 households. These were randomly selected from those that had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS) or OPN. The responding sample contained 3,127 individuals, representing a 70% response rate. This sample size is slightly smaller than in previous periods to help ensure the survey remains sustainable.

Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population (based on June 2021 population estimates). Further information on the survey design and quality can be found in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey Quality and Methodology Information.

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Catarina Figueira, Matt Mayhew, David Ainslie, Lynsey Brown
policy.evidence.analysis@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 300 0671543