Many Britons feel life is long way from return to normal with poor hardest hit

Many adults claim their lives are still dramatically different compared with before the pandemic, despite the easing of lockdown measures.

Britons are still spending an average of two days per week at home, with the poorest and those with mental health problems shut up for the longest period of time.

Research by University College London (UCL) found 28 per cent of adults reported that their lives are currently “completely different” or have “lots of differences” because of the pandemic.

A third claimed there are still “quite a few” differences in their day-to-day lives, while 35 per cent said there are “at least a few”. Just four per cent said nothing had changed for them over the course of 2020.

The study is part of UCL’s Covid-19 Social Study of more than 70,000 participants which was launched just a week before lockdown was introduced on March 23.

Funded primarily by the Nuffield Foundation, it is the UK’s largest survey into lockdown life.



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This week, the Government introduced stricter measures on social distancing, limiting gatherings to groups of six either indoors or outdoors.

Lead author Dr Daisy Fancourt, associate professor of psychobiology and epidemiology at UCL, said: “This shows that, whilst many aspects of society are operating again, we’re far from a return to ‘normal’ and the virus is still very much having an impact on people’s everyday lives.”

Despite lockdowns being eased, people are still spending an average of two days a week not leaving their homes.

People with lower household incomes spend more time at home than those on higher incomes, the research showed. Those diagnosed with a mental illness spend an average of 2.5 days a week at home.

Cheryl Lloyd, education programme head at the Nuffield Foundation, said income is one of the biggest indicators of the impact of Covid-19 shutdown measures on an individual’s mental health.

She said: “As the crisis continues, the Government should focus on addressing not only the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, but also on its social implications.”

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