Personal COVID concern subsides – but this may be a problem

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COVID concern indices remain stable for most part, but personal concern has declined by nearly 13%. As they digest the idea there may be no ‘going back’ after lockdown, are trustees getting too comfortable with coronavirus?

 

Is infection risk higher or lower now? 


On one hand, social distancing guidelines and continued shielding of the vulnerable would mean a slower rebound in economic activity. But on the other, the ambiguity of these rules and the temptation to bend them out of boredom is likely to put us at risk of a second wave. 

There is a divide in opinions on whether this can be avoided – some say using common sense is enough, but for others, this offers leeway for risky behaviour. Equally, some perceive the risk of infection as lower now, but others think it is higher. 

Whether there is a second wave or restrictive measures persist for longer, the expected minimum duration of the outbreak remains a constant, shifting the earliest expected end date every week.

 

Can a staycation alleviate the stress of uncertainty? 


55% of our research panel plan to take at least one week’s leave in the summer months. Only 21% say they do not plan on taking any time off, as they prefer to either take it later in the year or carry it forward to next year. Some hope to travel within the UK, but most would be happy with a staycation. 

Our respondents are not taking holiday simply because they have to use their allowances – they need the mental break. Working from home can be relaxing for some but has made it more difficult to disconnect for others. Continued isolation from friends and family has further taken a toll.

 

What is more important – personal or economic health? 


The full lockdown effect on the UK and global economy will take years to be quantified, but a recession and company defaults appear unavoidable. The realisation that there is no obvious path back to normality has increased the minimum duration of macro effects by nearly 14%. This now means that the economy may not recover by November 2022.

 
But what needs to be done now further divides our research panel. Some say that staying healthy and saving lives is more important – stressing the need for greater government intervention, continued working from home and staying away from public transport. And that green growth and resilience via local production are needed. 

But others are saying that the longer we take to reopen the economy, the worse the effects will be. Brexit could also have a knock-on effect but, more worryingly, the loss in productivity may translate into a permanent loss of jobs – if there are fewer companies to work for, where can the unemployed apply? The outlook is worst for young people who may enter the workforce soon, as some are struggling to complete their education. 

What steps would you like to see government take in the current environment, and what are you most worried about for the future? Click here to take next week’s survey.

 

Previous articles in this series: 


 

About the COVID Concern Index 


This short weekly survey helps gauge sentiment of our community on the pandemic. The results are distributed each week via the community newsletter. 

The COVID Concern Index values should be used as indication only and do not constitute advice. Their values are bound by the choices available in the survey on which they are based. 

COVID Concern Index:                                 

  • 0 = respondents are not worried at all
  • 100 = respondents are extremely worried                     

Expected minimum duration of outbreak:                                         

  • Lowest possible value = 1 month
  • Highest possible value = 6 months                    

Expected minimum duration of macro effects:

A methodology change took place on 15/04/2020, affecting data from 21/04/2020 onwards. 

Prior to 15/04/2020:      

  • Lowest possible value = 3 months
  • Highest possible value = 12 months                 

Following 15/04/2020:  

  • Lowest possible value = 3 months
  • Highest possible value = 60 months                 

Concerned about the coronavirus outbreak and its macro implications? Click here to take part in the weekly COVID-19 survey.