Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: 22 January 2021

Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 13 to 17 January 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 David Ainslie

Dyddiad y datganiad:
22 January 2021

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
29 January 2021

1. Main points

This week, over the period 13 to 17 January 2021, based on adults in Great Britain:

  • Compliance with most measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) remained high, with the same proportion as last week reporting always or often handwashing after returning home (90%), using a face covering (96%) and avoiding physical contact when outside their home (93%).
  • The proportion of adults reporting staying at home or only leaving for work, exercise, essential shopping or medical needs in the past seven days continued to increase, to 65% of adults this week; the highest proportion reporting this since May 2020.
  • The proportion of working adults that have worked from home was at its highest since June 2020; 45% this week compared with 43% last week.
  • Personal well-being scores for life satisfaction, feeling that things done in life are worthwhile and happiness remained at some of the lowest levels recorded since this survey began in March 2020; however, there was a small improvement in the anxiety score.
  • The proportion of adults who felt that it will take more than a year for life to return to normal (25%) continued to slowly rise this week and is now slightly higher than those who feel life will return to normal in six months or less (22%).
  • Around 1 in 14 (7%) adults reported they had already received at least partial COVID-19 vaccination while just under 9 in 10 (87%) reported they had not yet been offered the COVID-19 vaccine; around 1 in 20 (5%) said that they had been offered it and were awaiting it and 1 in 100 (1%) said that they had been offered it but declined it.
  • Amongst adults who had not already received or been offered COVID-19 vaccination, those that reported they would either be very likely or fairly likely to have the COVID-19 vaccine if offered seemed to increase with age: 81% of those aged between 16 and 29 years reported this, 86% of adults aged 30 to 49 years, 94% of adults aged 50 to 69 years and 98% of adults aged 70 years and above; this was a similar trend to previous weeks of the survey.
  • Of adults who said they would be unlikely (either fairly or very unlikely) to have the COVID-19 vaccine if offered, or had decided not to have the vaccine when offered, the most commonly reported reasons why not were: feeling worried about the long-term effects on their health (43%), feeling worried about the side effects (42%) and wanting to wait to see how well the vaccine works (40%); this was similar to previous weeks of the survey.
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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 latest weekly statistics for Great Britain over the period 13 January to 17 January 2021 are examined.

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 associated 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 this difference.

The latest statistics in this release are based on a survey of 6,030 adults aged 16 years and above in Great Britain conducted between 13 January and 17 January 2021 (inclusive). Results from this period are based on 4,492 responding adults (74% response rate).

Throughout the bulletin:

  • “this week” refers to responses collected during the period 13 January to 17 January 2021
  • “last week” refers to responses collected during the period 7 January to 10 January 2021
  • “Christmas and New Year” refers to responses collected during the period 22 December 2020 to 3 January 2021

!

From 5 January 2021, national lockdowns in England and Scotland began, with Wales already in lockdown since 20 December 2020. For some questions asked last week (7 January to 10 January) respondents were asked to consider the past seven days; therefore, some of these responses may relate to a period before national lockdowns in England and Scotland started. For more information on lockdowns in Great Britain see Glossary.

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3. Main indicators

There are several measures in place to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), such as handwashing, use of face coverings, avoiding physical contact and self-isolating. These indicators are presented at a Great Britain level in Table 1.

Compliance with most measures remained high this week, with the same proportion of adults in Great Britain as last week reporting always or often handwashing after returning home (90%), using a face covering (96%) and avoiding physical contact when outside their home (93%). Around 9 in 10 (88% this week compared with 90% last week) adults reported always or often maintaining social distance when meeting up with people outside their support bubble this week.

Table 1: Main indicators

Great Britain, 7 January to 17 January 2021

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Notes:

  1. "This week" refers to responses collected during the period 13 January to 17 January 2021.
  2. "Last week" refers to responses collected during the period 7 January to 10 January 2021.

Download the data

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Following the beginning of national lockdowns in England and Scotland in January 2021 and in Wales in December 2020, the proportion of adults in Great Britain reporting staying at home or only leaving for work, exercise, essential shopping or medical needs in the past seven days continued to increase, to 65% of adults this week compared with 62% last week and 41% during the Christmas and New Year period. This is now the highest proportion reporting this since May 2020 (Figure 1).

This week, the proportion of working adults that have worked from home (45% this week compared with 43% last week) was at its highest since June 2020. The proportion of working adults that travelled to work either exclusively or in combination with working from home (48% both this week and last week) remained the same. This followed an increase in these proportions compared with the Christmas and New Year period when 32% of working adults worked from home and 44% of working adults travelled to work either exclusively or in combination with working from home. This trend is likely because of the introduction of national lockdowns in January and people working less over the Christmas period.

More about coronavirus

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4. Personal well-being

Following the general decline in personal well-being scores seen last week, this week, personal well-being scores for life satisfaction and feeling that things done in life are worthwhile remained at some of the lowest levels recorded since this survey began in March 2020.

Scores for life satisfaction (6.4 both this week and last week) and feeling that things done in life are worthwhile (7.1 this week compared with 7.0 last week) remained similar. The score for happiness continued to decline slightly (6.4 this week compared with 6.5 last week) with the score now matching the lowest score seen since this survey began in March 2020. However, there was a small improvement in the anxiety score (4.3 this week compared with 4.6 last week).

Figure 2: This week, happiness was at its lowest level since the survey began in March 2020

Great Britain, March 2020 to January 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. This question is 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, the proportion of adults in Great Britain that felt that life will return to normal in six months or less continued to gradually fall, now at 22% compared with 24% last week and 25% during the Christmas and New Year period.

The proportion of adults who felt that it will take more than a year for life to return to normal continued to gradually rise and is now slightly higher than those who feel life will return to normal in six months or less. A quarter (25%) of adults felt it will take more than a year for life to return to normal, compared with 24% last week and 20% during the Christmas and New Year period (Figure 3).

Figure 3: This week, a quarter of adults reported they felt that it will take more than a year for life to return to normal

Great Britain, March 2020 to January 2021

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Notes:

  1. Question: "How long do you think it will be before your life returns to normal?".
  2. Base population for percentage: all adults.
  3. Totals may not sum to 100% because of rounding.

Download the data

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6. Attitudes to COVID-19 vaccination and mass testing

COVID-19 vaccination

Following the first coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine being given in the UK on 8 December 2020, COVID-19 vaccination is now being provided in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local vaccination centres run by general practitioners and at larger vaccination centres and general practice (GP) surgeries to those most at risk. For links to more information please see the Glossary.

With an increasing number of adults being offered the COVID-19 vaccine in Great Britain, this week we asked adults in Great Britain:

  • whether they had been offered or received the COVID-19 vaccine
  • their likelihood of having the vaccine if they had yet to be offered the vaccine

These changes mean estimates of attitudes towards vaccination provided this week should be used with caution when compared with those from previous weeks of the survey.

This week, around 1 in 14 (7%) adults in Great Britain reported they had already received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination. Just under 9 in 10 (87%) reported they had not yet been offered the COVID-19 vaccine. Around 1 in 20 (5%) reported that they had been offered it and were awaiting it, and 1 in 100 (1%) that they had been offered it but declined it. The latest official administrative data on the number of adults in Great Britain and its constituent countries who have received COVID-19 vaccination is available. Our survey does not include adults living in care homes or other establishments, so will not capture vaccinations in these settings.

Of those yet to be offered the COVID-19 vaccine, around 9 in 10 (89%) were very likely or fairly likely to have the vaccine if offered, with around 1 in 20 (5%) very or fairly unlikely.

Amongst adults who had not already received or been offered COVID-19 vaccination, this week those that reported they would either be very likely or fairly likely to have the COVID-19 vaccine if offered seemed to increase with age: 81% of those aged between 16 and 29 years reported this, 86% of adults aged 30 to 49 years, 94% of adults aged 50 to 69 years and 98% of adults aged 70 years and above (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Around 8 in 10 (81%) of adults aged 16 to 29 years compared with 98% of adults aged 70 years and above said they were very or fairly likely to accept the COVID-19 vaccine if offered

Great Britain, 13 to 17 January 2021

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Notes:

  1. Question: "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 population for percentage: Adults who reported they had not yet received or been offered COVID-19 vaccination.
  3. Response for the category "Prefer not to say" has been removed from the chart because of having a reported proportion amongst all adults of 1% or less.
  4. Response for the categories "Neither likley or unlikely", "Very unlikely", or "Don’t know" for adults aged 70 years and above have been suppressed because of having either a small sample size or the estimate being less than 1%.
  5. Confidence intervals are provided in the datasets associated with this bulletin. As a general rule, if the confidence interval around one estimate overlaps with the interval around another, we cannot say with certainty that there is more than a chance difference between the two estimates.
  6. Totals may not sum to 100% due to rounding and removal of the response category "Prefer not to say".

Download the data

.xlsx

Of all adults who said they would be unlikely (either fairly or very unlikely) to have the COVID-19 vaccine if offered, or had decided not to have the vaccine when offered, the most commonly reported reasons why not were: feeling worried about the long-term effects on their health (43%), feeling worried about the side effects (42%) and wanting to wait to see how well the vaccine works (40%) (Figure 5).

This week, we have produced a combined measure looking at the percentage of adults in Great Britain who have either received the COVID-19 vaccine, have accepted an offer and are waiting to receive it, or are very or fairly likely to have the vaccine if offered. This allows us to produce a consistent measure of attitude towards the vaccine as more adults receive and are offered the vaccine.

There appears to have been a slight gradual increase in positive attitudes towards receiving the COVID-19 vaccination; this week around 9 in 10 (90%) adults reported they had now either received the COVID-19 vaccine, had accepted an offer and were awaiting vaccination or would be very or fairly likely to have the vaccine if offered. In early December 2020, around 8 in 10 (78%) adults indicated they would be very likely or fairly likely to accept the vaccine if offered it (Figure 6).

Attitudes to mass testing

In selected areas, the UK and devolved governments are offering tests for the coronavirus (COVID-19) to everyone living or working in the area, whether they have symptoms or not; this is sometimes referred to “mass testing” or “community testing”.

This week, around 8 in 10 (78%) adults in Great Britain reported they strongly supported or tended to support mass testing for COVID-19, a similar percentage to last week (80%).

If mass testing was available in their area, around 7 in 10 (67%) of adults said they would be very likely or fairly likely to get a test for COVID-19 even if they had no symptoms; a slightly lower percentage than last week (71%).

Younger adults were less likely than older adults to report that if mass testing were available in their area they would be very likely or fairly likely to get a test for COVID-19. Around 6 in 10 (61%) of those aged between 16 and 29 years reported this, 71% of adults aged 30 to 49 years, 68% of adults aged 50 to 69 years and 65% of adults aged 70 years and above. A similar proportion of men (68%) and women (66%) reported this.

Further statistics on vaccines and mass testing can be found in Table 12 in the accompanying datasets.

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7. Social impacts on Great Britain data

Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain
Dataset | Released 22 January 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.

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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.

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.

Vaccination for COVID-19

Following the first coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine being given in the UK on 8 December 2020, the COVID-19 vaccination is now being provided in various locations across the country. The vaccine is currently being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local vaccination centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. It is being given to four priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI):

  • all residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  • all those aged 80 years and over and frontline health and social care workers
  • all those aged 75 years and over
  • all those aged 70 years and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals

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

More information on the number of people who have received the 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, 6,030 individuals were sampled, with a response rate of 74% (or 4,492 individuals) for the survey conducted from 13 January to 17 January 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 to or were unable to complete the survey online had the opportunity to take part over the phone.

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, this total may not appear to sum to the total of individual categories because of this rounding.

Sampling

A sample of 6,030 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 13 January to 17 January contained 4,492 individuals (74% 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 January 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.

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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

David Ainslie
policy.evidence.analysis@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 (0)1633 455847