Relaxed attitudes towards COVID-19 threaten economic recovery 

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mallowstreet’s COVID concern indices remain little changed compared to last week, reflecting more relaxed attitudes towards the virus. The holiday season is perhaps making the public less vigilant, with many not following government guidance during the summer season according to our research panel. Could COVID complacency cancel Christmas? 


Trustees are still unwilling to return to the office and in-person events 

Among those surveyed, 92% work predominantly from home – a proportion that has remained largely unchanged in recent weeks. Additionally, 78% are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ uncomfortable with attending in-person events. Their main concern is about travelling to such events, especially if it involves the London Underground. Some respondents also question whether socialising can be as successful and useful as it has been in the past given social distancing rules. 

The outbreak is now expected to last past Christmas 

This is not a result of deteriorating expectations – the minimum duration of the outbreak has remained stable, and that of the economic effects has even decreased by a substantial 20%, back to the long-term levels reported before last week’s outlier reading. But because cases are currently rising, our respondents do not see the short-term outlook improving and keep extending their horizon – now past the 25th of December. 

The economy and public health remain conflicting objectives 

Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire have gone into lockdown again, and reopening plans elsewhere have been delayed. This is putting respondents in our weekly survey at ease that the UK government is getting better at handling localised COVID-19 outbreaks, but 40% are still 'very' or 'extremely' worried about the latest guidance. They do not view it as being sufficiently justified by science, and think it has been highly politicised. Concerns about how the UK government would handle a second wave persist. 


Confidence in healthcare is rising 

Nine in ten (93%) are now saying that health care is a likely ‘winner’ in the COVID-19 aftermath, compared with 78% last week. A recent extreme example of this increasing confidence is Kodak, which received a government loan to make ingredients for drugs used to fight coronavirus. As a result, its share price rose 1,500% in one week

Sentiment on energy, on the other hand, has tilted towards a ‘loser’ verdict again – 33% say that this is the case, compared with 22% last week. The growing risk of defaults in fixed income and the property sector has also kept real estate and financials firmly in the ‘losers’ corner. 
Only 56% of respondents now think inflation may rise as a result of COVID-19’s economic impact, compared with 78% last week. It will be interesting to see how changing views on inflation will impact our research panel’s views on sectors – consumer discretionary, industrials and materials are currently regarded mostly as ‘losers.’ 

Are you concerned about a COVID-19 Christmas and delays in reopening the economy? Click here to tell us in 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.