Lockdown lives

by Ben Marshall
State of the Nation

Britain’s village of one hundred

“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home” Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the public in his televised address to the UK on 23 March, adding that the coronavirus was “the biggest threat this country has faced for decades”.

The first national lockdown was as historic as it was awful and necessary. The set of restrictions imposed by Government were a forerunner to more localised lockdowns during the summer and autumn and a second period of lockdown in England in November.

As in previous years I’ve taken a look at what our country was like at this time if it just had 100 people. How many of our ‘village’ would hold certain attitudes, how many would behave in certain ways, what would they think and do?

During the unprecedented period of the first, UK-wide lockdown, Britain looked like this…

Empty shops on highstreet

For every 100 people

Supported the introduction of the lockdown restrictions

Believed that the economy will have changed as a result of the pandemic in a year’s time

Said the announcement of a successful vaccine would make a positive difference to how optimistic they feel

Were very or fairly confident in the NHS’ ability to deal with coronavirus (it was 62 in mid-March)

Expected to see a shift in the way we work

Said they felt uncomfortable going to large public gatherings compared to how they felt before the pandemic

Thought that the Government acted too late in imposing lockdown measures (it increased from 57 just two weeks previously)

Supported tracking those diagnosed with coronavirus, and those that they have been in close contact with, in order to advise those individuals to self-isolate themselves

Thought that the impacts of coronavirus would be felt more by older people than younger people

Thought that the impacts of coronavirus would be felt more by the poor more than the rich

Said they were finding it harder to stay positive about the future compared with before the outbreak

Thought that it was important that climate change is prioritised in the economic recovery

Thought it would take a year or more for life to return to normal

Reported having to work much or a little harder compared to before the outbreak

Thought the country would be weaker for years to come because of coronavirus (it was 40 a month earlier)

Thought that spending time away from friends and family they were self-isolating with would make a positive difference in their outlook!

Reported being concerned about the risk coronavirus posed to their personal health (down from 36 in late March)

Believed the conspiracy theory that the virus was probably created in a laboratory

Were personally worried about mental illnesses (even at the start of lockdown), 11 were concerned about anxiety and 7 about depression

Drank more alcohol than they normally would

Lent money to a family member or friend because of coronavirus while 9 borrowed from a family member or friend

Thought that “too much fuss” was being made about the risk from the coronavirus

Said Government communications about how to protect yourself had been not very/not at all clear

Thought that someone was 10 times more likely to die from seasonal flu than coronavirus

Phoned or contacted a counselling or support service

Said they were following the rules (at the start of April), about half time, 1 less than half the time and 1 hardly any of the time.