Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: 30 April 2021

Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 21 April to 25 April 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, Rhian Murphy and Tom Evans

Dyddiad y datganiad:
30 April 2021

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
7 May 2021

1. Main points

This week, over the period 21 to 25 April 2021, based on adults in Great Britain:

  • Compliance with most measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) remained high, with 87% of adults reporting handwashing when returning home and 97% using a face covering; both proportions unchanged from last week.

  • Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, more people are leaving home in the last seven days for reasons such as: to meet up in a public place (33% among adults who left home compared with 26% last week); to shop for things other than basic necessities (28% compared with 20% last week) and to do leisure activities (15% compared with 12% last week).

  • Nearly 6 in 10 (57%) adults met up outdoors with someone not in their household, childcare or support bubble in the last seven days; a notable increase from the 19% reported between 10 and 14 March 2021.

  • Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) working adults reported leaving home for work in the past seven days, a continued increase from last week (55%) and since mid-February (44% in the period 10 to 14 February 2021).

  • Personal well-being levels were relatively stable: life satisfaction (7.0 this week, 6.9 last week and 7.3 in February 2020 before the first coronavirus lockdown), feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile (7.3 this week and last week, 7.6 in February 2020), happiness (7.1 this week and last week and 7.2 in February 2020) and anxiety (3.8 this week and last week and 3.5 in February 2020).

  • For the 14% of adults who did not always or often socially distance at some point in the last seven days, the most commonly reported reasons why not were to be around friends (59%) and family members (47%).

  • Positive sentiment towards the COVID-19 vaccine 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%).

  • Over 6 in 10 (64%) adults reported to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which includes nearly a quarter (23%) of adults reporting to have received their second dose.

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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.

This release provides data for the last two weeks. The latest statistics in this release are based on a survey of 6,022 adults aged 16 years and over in Great Britain conducted between 21 and 25 April 2021 (inclusive). Results from this period are based on 3,791 responding adults (63% response rate).

Throughout the bulletin:

  • "this week" refers to responses collected during the period 21 to 25 April 2021

  • "last week" refers to responses collected during the period 14 to 18 April 2021

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The estimates presented here are based on data collected after the further easing of lockdown restrictions that were introduced across Great Britain from 12 April 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 87% of adults reporting always or often handwashing after returning home, 97% using a face covering and 85% always or often maintaining social distancing when meeting up with people outside their support bubble, all proportions unchanged from last week.

Table 1: Main indicators

Great Britain, 14 April to 25 April 2021

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Notes:

  1. "This week" refers to responses collected during the period 21 to 25 April 2021.

  2. "Last week" refers to responses collected during the period 14 to 18 April 2021.

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

Over 9 in 10 (95%) adults in Great Britain reported leaving home this week, the same proportion as last week.

Figure 1 shows some of the reasons adults have reported for leaving home. Amongst adults who reported leaving home in the last seven days:

  • 15% did so to take children or young people to or from school, college, or nursery as this week covers the period where all schools returned from the Easter holiday period (8% last week)

  • 33% did so to meet people in a public place (26% last week)

  • 28% did so to shop for things other than basic necessities such as food and medicine (20% last week)

  • 14% did so to meet in a personal place (13% last week)

  • 17% did so for any medical need, including to get a COVID-19 vaccine (15% last week)

  • 15% did so for leisure activities (12% last week)

Figure 1: Leaving home to meet in a public place, take young people to or from school, and to shop for things other than essentials, increased sharply this week

Of adults who reported they had left home in the past seven days for any reason, Great Britain, December 2020 to April 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. Not all possible response categories are shown on this chart. For information on response options to these questions, please see Table 6 of the dataset associated with this bulletin.

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Leaving home to meet others

This week, 60% of adults reported meeting up with someone outside their household, childcare or support bubble in the last seven days (54% last week). This proportion increased following easings to lockdown restrictions, but decreased temporarily as schools returned from the Easter break (Figure 2).

Figure 2 shows the proportion of adults who:

  • met up indoors (either exclusively or in combination with meeting up outdoors) at 10%; this has remained relatively stable since January (10% between 20 and 24 January)

  • met up outdoors (either exclusively or in combination with meeting up indoors) at 57%; a notable increase since March (19% between 10 and 14 March)

It should be noted that changes to the questions in the period 24 to 28 March may have contributed to the changes seen when comparing with periods prior to this and should be treated with caution.

Figure 2: Over half (57%) of adults met up outdoors with someone outside their household, childcare or support bubble in the last seven days

Adults in Great Britain, January to April 2021

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Notes:

  1. Question: "Excluding work or education, in the past seven days, have you met up or socialised with anyone from outside your household, support, or childcare bubble?

  2. Base: all adults.

  3. Questions asked about meeting indoors and outdoors changed in March so interpretation of this time series should be made with caution. For more information please see the datasets associated with this bulletin.

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When looking at those who had met up with others outside their household or support bubble (either indoors or outdoors), 85% of adults reported always or often maintaining social distance this week, the same proportion as last week.

For the 14% of adults who did not always or often socially distance at some point in the last seven days, we asked who they did not maintain distance from. The most common responses were friends (59%) and family members (47%).

Younger adults were more likely not to socially distance from friends (68% of 16- to 29-year-olds) compared with older adults (38% of adults aged 70 years and over). ​In contrast, older adults were more likely not to socially distance from family (55% of adults aged 70 years and over) compared with younger adults (38% of adults aged 16 to 29 years). 

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

Leaving home for work

This week, nearly 6 in 10 (58%) working adults reported leaving home for work in the past seven days (55% last week). This proportion has been gradually increasing since mid-February (44% in the period 10 to 14 February 2021).

Looking at this week in more detail:

  • the proportion of working adults travelling to work exclusively in the past seven days was 46% (same as last week)

  • the proportion of working adults reporting working from home exclusively in the past seven days was 27% (same as last week)

  • just over 1 in 10 (11%) working adults reported both working from home and travelling to work (10% last week) (Figure 3)

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4. Personal well-being

This week, personal well-being levels were stable: feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile (7.3), happiness (7.1) and anxiety (3.8) levels were all unchanged from the previous week.

Levels of life satisfaction increased slightly this week to 7.0 (6.9 last week).

All measures are yet to recover to their pre-pandemic levels in February 2020 (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Levels of life satisfaction increased slightly this week, while all other well-being measures remained stable

Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to April 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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This week, 7% of adults reported to find it difficult or very difficult to follow current lockdown measures; a similar proportion has been reported each week since the start of the January 2021 lockdown.

Of these, 71% reported an impact on well-being, 58% felt that life events are being missed and 47% said that current measures were putting a strain on relationships with family and friends (Figure 6).

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5. Perceptions of the future

This week, nearly 3 in 10 (29%) adults reported they felt it will take more than a year for life to return to normal, unchanged from last week (Figure 7).

Over 2 in 10 (24%) adults reported they felt life would return to normal in six months or less, a little more optimistic than last week (22%). This was following the Step 2 roadmap announcement.

Figure 7: More optimism this week as the proportion of adults who felt it would take less than six months for life to return to normal increases

Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to April 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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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 positive vaccine sentiment, a similar proportion to last week (93%). This included adults who 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 includes adults who have accepted and are waiting to receive a vaccine.

As the vaccination programme now progresses to younger age groups, we have looked at how vaccination sentiment by age has changed since early December:

  • nearly 9 in 10 (92%) people aged 30 to 49 years reported positive vaccine sentiment, unchanged from last week; this proportion was 74% at the start of the vaccination programme in December 2020

  • almost 9 in 10 (88%) people aged 16 to 29 years reported positive vaccine sentiment, from 83% reported last week and higher than at the start of the vaccination programme, which was at 63% in December 2020 (Figure 8)

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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 a COVID-19 vaccination.

Figure 8: 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 April 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. 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.

  5. For the period 10 to 14 February, the 99% indicated on the chart for those aged 70 years and over represent a proportion of greater than 99% but less than 100%.

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The 94% of adults in Great Britain this week who reported positive vaccine sentiment¹ is made up of those who reported that they either:

  • had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at 64%, which includes nearly a quarter (23%) adults having received a second dose

  • had been offered a vaccine and were awaiting their first dose (3%)

  • had not yet been offered a vaccine but were likely (very or fairly likely) to have one when offered (27%) (Figure 9)

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A similar proportion of adults reported to have received at least one dose is reported in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey release. 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 theGlossary.

Figure 9: Nearly a quarter (23%) of adults said they had now received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Adults in Great Britain, 21 to 25 April 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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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 were:

  • feeling worried about the long-term effects on their health (39% this week, 36% last week)

  • feeling worried about the side effects (35% this week, 41% last week)

  • wanting to wait to see how well the vaccine works (32% this week, same as last week)

  • not thinking it will be safe (24% this week, same as last week)

  • did not feel that coronavirus (COVID-19) is a personal risk (24% this week, 16% last week)

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 9 because of rounding.
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7. Social impacts on Great Britain data

Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain
Dataset | Released 30 April 2021
Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey 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.

On 22 February 2021, the UK government published a four-step roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England. On 23 February, the Scottish government published an update to the strategic framework for easing lockdown restrictions in Scotland.

In England, as per the first step of easing outlined in the roadmap, it was confirmed from 29 March people could meet outdoors in a group of six (among other changes to restrictions). In Wales, from 13 March, "stay at home" restrictions were replaced with stay local restrictions. In Scotland, "stay local" replaced "stay at home" from 2 April.

Further easing of lockdown restrictions from 12 April have been confirmed in England, Wales and Scotland. The data presented in this release were collected following this announcement.

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 Office for National Statistics is publishing more data and analysis than ever before. We are constantly reviewing our publications based on your feedback to make sure that we continue to meet the needs of our users. As a result, future editions of this publication may focus more strongly on headline indicators and main messages. Thank you for your continued support.

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 week (21 to 25 April 2021), 6,022 individuals were sampled, with a response rate of 63% (or 3,791 individuals).

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. 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, this 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 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

For the latest week (21 to 25 April 2021), a sample of 6,022 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 21 to 25 April 2021 contained 3,791 individuals with a 63% 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 April 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, Rhian Murphy and Tom Evans
policy.evidence.analysis@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 (0)300 0671543